Karunanidhi calls on Sonia, Manmohan

VICTORY LAP: Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi greeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi during their meeting in New Delhi.

VICTORY LAP: Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi greeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi during their meeting in New Delhi.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: DIPR

J. Venkatesan

New Delhi: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK President M.Karunanidhi on Tuesday met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, ahead of the crucial meeting of pre-poll UPA allies here on Wednesday.

Mr.Karunanidhi was accompanied by his son M.K. Azhagiri, daughter Kanimozhi, grandnephew Dayanidhi Maran and T.R.Baalu.

Ms.Gandhi greeted Mr.Karunanidhi at her 10 Janpath residence and honoured him with a shawl. After meeting her, Mr.Karunanidhi met Dr.Singh at his 7 Race Course Road residence. Both the meetings lasted a few minutes.

Later, at the Tamil Nadu House, when journalists asked Mr.Karunanidhi whether the DMK would get the same seven berths in the Union Ministry, he said: “Whether we will get the same number or not, I cannot say now. We will come to know only after we get them.”

He declined to answer whether Mr.Azhagiri and Ms.Kanimozhi would get Cabinet berths.

Asked what transpired at the meetings with Ms. Sonia and Dr. Singh, he said, “We discussed various issues and problems confronting the nation and how to solve them.”

Asked to comment on the killing of LTTE leader V.Prabakaran, the Chief Minister said: “Some leaders in Tamil Nadu, who are supporters of the LTTE and Prabakaran, are saying that the death of Prabakaran is an unconfirmed report and that the Sri Lankan government is spreading a lie… I don’t want to say anything based on unconfirmed reports.”

Asked whether the Tamils in Sri Lanka would get equal rights after the Sri Lankan government’s claim that the LTTE had been wiped out, Mr. Karunanidhi said: “The DMK has been fighting for getting equal rights for Tamils in Sri Lanka for the last 50 years. I had taken up this issue with Ms.Gandhi and Dr.Singh and both of them had promised that the Government of India would take all possible steps not only to protect the rights of the Tamils but also ensure they get equal rights with the Sinhalese.” He said the Tamil Eelam could be a long-term solution to this problem. Asked whether the DMK would ask for a change in the foreign policy, he said, “There is no such agenda now.”

Mr.Karunanidhi said he had requested the Prime Minister to impress on the Sri Lankan government to provide relief and rehabilitation measures to the affected Tamils. The Centre should render all possible assistance in this humanitarian task. He said the DMK wanted the Sethusamudram project, left mid-way, to be completed at the earliest.

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