TAMIL NADU

DPA will continue after polls: Karunanidhi

TIRUCHI, APRIL 24. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president, M. Karunanidhi, today said the Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA) would continue even after the Lok Sabha election.

Reacting to the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee's observation that political alignments would change after the polls, he told the media here that there would be no change in the DPA. The same combination would continue and DPA constituents would finalise their strategy at the time of the elections in the State.

Mr. Karunanidhi expressed satisfaction over the action initiated by the Election Commission against the Chennai Collector and the Madurai Commissioner of Police. "The Election Commission as far as possible was taking proper action in the case of officials."

Asked whether he expected free and fair elections in the wake of action being initiated against the officials, Mr. Karunanidhi said the ruling party, fearing defeat, might indulge in violence and in highhandedness with the help of official machinery. "We will approach the Election Commission and take steps to check the same," he said.

Referring to his earlier statement that the DMK would not join the Government if the Congress was voted to power at the Centre, Mr. Karunanidhi said it was his personal view, which would be placed before the party.

Replying to a query on the general standard of campaigning in the State, he said ruling partymen made uncivilised statements forcing the Opposition to retaliate. He suggested the formation of a committee of presspersons to find out those responsible for the attacks and make it public.

Mr. Karunanidhi alleged that some Collectors and police officials were acting in a partisan manner. Even though Election Commission rules were clear that equal opportunity should be given to Opposition leaders in allotment of guesthouses, he was refused permission to stay in government guesthouses during electioneering.

Addressing a meeting here yesterday in support of L. Ganesan, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam candidate for the Tiruchi seat, Mr. Karunanidhi rejected the criticism that he raised issues of the State in a Lok Sabha election campaign. Since the DPA opposed the Prevention of Terrorism Act, it had to raise the issue of the "vindictive" attitude of the AIADMK Government, which "misused" the POTA.

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