OTHERS

Moopanar supports Jayalalitha claim

CHENNAI, APRIL 29. The TMC president, Mr. G. K. Moopanar, today strongly supported the claim by the AIADMK general secretary, Ms. Jayalalitha, that she continued to be the chief ministerial candidate.

``I do not see any legal bar on her becoming the Chief Minister'', Mr. Moopanar told presspersons here, expressing the hope that Ms. Jayalalitha would provide good governance.

She might not be in the fray but that did not mean that she could not become Chief Minister. ``Even a non-legislator can be appointed Chief Minister'', he said, adding that when the late K. Kamaraj became Chief Minister (in 1954), he was not a member of the House.

Asked how could she be made Chief Minister when she could not contest the election because of her conviction in a corruption case, the TMC leader, who returned home on Friday last after recuperating for a hip-bone fracture, shot back: ``What is wrong in her becoming the CM ? People are asking how the nomination papers of the former Kerala Minister, Mr. R. Balakrishna Pillai, also convicted in a corruption case, were accepted in that State ?''

Besides, the TMC entered into a pact with the AIADMK on the understanding that the party, under the leadership of Ms. Jayalalitha, would give good governance. ``In fact, my hope (of her giving good governance) has strengthened in recent weeks. It will not fail'', Mr. Moopanar replied, to a question whether he noticed any change in her conduct of late.

On the contention by Ms. Jayalalitha that her nomination papers were rejected under pressure from the Chief Minister, Mr. Karunanidhi, Mr. Moopanar said ``I had seen power both at the Centre and in the State''.

On the argument by the breakaway TMC faction's leader, Mr. P. Chidambaram, that Ms. Jayalalitha could not become Chief Minister, the TMC chief responded ``that is one interpretation by one lawyer. There is a scope for different interpretations in law''.

Adverting to Ms. Jayalalitha's contention that she was prevented from facing the election to facilitate the Chennai Mayor, Mr. M. K. Stalin, becoming Chief Minister, Mr. Moopanar said the question of Mr. Stalin getting elected had to be decided by members of that party. ``But, the point is that we are coming to power.''

Would the TMC function as a watchdog in the event of the AIADMK forming government? Mr. Moopanar's curt reply was: ``Yes, yes.''

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