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TNCC chief drops disciplinary action

MADURAI NOV.1. In a bid to put at rest the controversy over the show-cause he served on two MLAs, the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president, S. Balakrishnan, today said the "matter is closed" in the wake of their explanation.

The notices were served on them after newspaper advertisements appeared, welcoming the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, during her recent visit to Thanjavur.

At a press conference here, Mr. Balakrishnan said he would not seek a formal reply from M. Ramkumar, representing Papanasam, and S. V. Thirugnanasambandam, MLA from Peravurani, as they had explained in press statements that they had nothing to do with the advertisements, released by the panchayat unions, and that their names and pictures figured in their capacity as local legislators. There was no need for any disciplinary action against the MLAs, the TNCC chief said.

Denying any motive behind the issue of the notices, Mr. Balakrishnan said he resorted to the move only to pacify agitated party workers, who had in large numbers thronged the Sathyamurthy Bhavan, TNCC headquarters in Chennai, demanding action against the MLAs.

The partymen felt humiliated as a `stamp-size' picture of the AICC president, Sonia Gandhi, was featured along with a large picture of Ms. Jayalalithaa in the advertisement. "The activists were terribly annoyed, as the Chief Minister had in the recent past gone out of her way to criticise Ms. Gandhi, dubbing her a foreigner."

On the Congress Legislature Party leader, S. R. Balasubramaniam's remark that he should have been consulted before the notices were issued, Mr. Balakrishnan said he (CLP leader) was not present at the Sathyamurthy Bhavan to gauge the mood of the activists. He would definitely consult the CLP leader as and when a necessity arose to take disciplinary action against any MLA, said Mr. Balakrishnan.

There was substance in the MLAs' explanation, as it was brought to his notice that similar advertisements, bearing the names of Congress representatives in two panchayat unions in Ramanathapuram district, were issued in newspapers in connection with Ms. Jayalalithaa's visit to Pasumpon on October 30.

However, Mr. Ramkumar and Mr. Thirugnanasambandam should find out who was really responsible for bringing out the advertisements showing Ms. Gandhi's picture along with that of Ms. Jayalalithaa, who the TNCC treated as "enemy No.1". The TNCC stand was a sequel to Ms. Jayalalithaa's "tirade" against the Congress leadership and also the policies pursued by her Government, said Mr. Balakrishnan.

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