TAMIL NADU

Jayalalithaa afraid of facing Assembly: Balasubramaniam

TIRUCHI, JULY 24. The Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, was afraid of facing the Assembly following her party's rout in the Lok Sabha elections, the State Congress Legislature party leader, S. R. Balasubramaniam, has said.

Addressing mediapersons here today, Mr. Balasubramaniam took strong exception to the curtailment of the duration of the current Assembly session and said the decision showed a callous disregard for public opinion and democratic norms.

The Opposition was expecting an opportunity for an elaborate discussion on the Budget, but the ruling party has made a mockery of democracy by reducing the duration. The Governor should not give his consent to the decisions taken during this session in view of the Opposition boycott, he demanded.

The Democratic Progressive Alliance would organise protest meetings throughout the State, he said.

The Chief Minister was still searching for reasons for her party's defeat in the Lok Sabha elections, he said. Dismissing Ms. Jayalalithaa's charge that her party's defeat was due to the rigging of the electronic voting machines, he said "instead of accepting people's verdict she was coming up with lame excuses".

The Chief Minister has already made a confessionary statement through the roll back of many of her unpopular decisions and the government should step down as it has been totally rejected by the people, he said.

Replying to a query, Mr. Balasubramaniam defended the Opposition MLAs decision to resort to a road roko agitation in Chennai on Friday stating that the government had `slighted' the MLAs.

He accused Ms. Jayalalithaa of adopting double standards over the issue of arrest warrant against the Union Minister, Shibu Soren. He also defended the Congress President, Sonia Gandhi's announcement on the sanction of relief to the Kumbakonam fire accident victims on behalf of the Prime Minister. Ms. Sonia Gandhi was the leader of the coalition government at the Centre and she also headed the National Advisory Council, he said.

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