TAMIL NADU

TDP, Cong. close ranks against naxals

HYDERABAD, DEC. 30. In a rare show of unity, the TDP and the Congress decided that the kin of elected representatives killed by naxalites would be elected unopposed for the balance of the tenure. The decision applies to all elected posts from Sarpanch to Member of Parliament.

The decision was announced in the Assembly today while condoling the death of the Congress MLA, D. Ragya Naik, shot dead by naxalites in a Hanuman temple in Mahbubnagar district on Saturday.

Initially, the suggestion came from Dr.Y.S.Rajasekhara Reddy, who appealed to the TDP not to field its candidate against the wife or son of Ragya Naik in the byelection and the Chief Minister, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu, promptly announced his party's decision not to field a candidate against the slain legislator's wife.

The Chief Minister announced that a house site would be given to Naik's family in Hyderabad, Rs 20-lakh grant to build a house, and a government job would be given to Naik's son to suit his educational qualification. The Home Minister, Mr T.Devender Goud, said the unanimity should send a strong message to extremists that all political parties were united in their fight against extremism and violence.

At the instance of Chief Minister, all MLAs agreed to donate one month's salary to the widow. Ragya Naik was a simple Lambada tribal leader without a house and had five sons, all of whom are unemployed. Several MLAs were seen wiping tears during the debate on the condolence motion. Dr. Rajasekhara Reddy was overtaken by emotion and remained silent for 10 seconds as he could not continue.

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