TAMIL NADU

`Only a secular government can ensure Pondy's separate identity'

PONDICHERRY, APRIL 24. The Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) leader, Vaiko, has said that a government at the Centre led by AICC president Sonia Gandhi would ensure overall development.

Speaking at an election rally organised by the Democratic Progressive Alliance in support of the PMK candidate, M. Ramadoss, here today, he said such a government alone would ensure a separate identity for the Union Territory.

Mr. Vaiko said the late Jawaharlal Nehru had always maintained that Pondicherry's status should continue in keeping with the wishes of its people. A secular government at the Centre alone would live up to his wishes, he said.

He was confident of the DPA alliance's victory in all 40 Lok Sabha constituencies in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. When he had tabled a bill on the inter-linking of rivers in the Parliament, there had been wholehearted support from several members. It had also initiated a debate on the subject.

The DMK convenor and Opposition leader in Pondicherry Assembly, R. V. Janakiraman, said only the DPA could ensure separate existence for Pondicherry.

Mr. Ramadoss said once the alliance comes to the Centre, provisions under Article 356 of the Indian Constitution would be used to dismiss the Jayalalithaa Government in Tamil Nadu.

The Chief Minister, N. Rangasamy, spoke on the development in the Union Territory under various Congress governments at the Centre. He said only a government led by Ms. Gandhi could ensure progress. The former Education Minister, N. Manimarana, presided.

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