TAMIL NADU

TDP reiterates commitment to secularism

WARANGAL May 29. The Telugu Desam says it is committed to secularism and will continue to champion the cause of the minorities. .

The reiteration came in the political resolution adopted by the party's `mahanadu' (grand conference) which ended its three-day sitting here on Wednesday.

K. Yerran Naidu, leader of the TD Parliamentary Party, who piloted the resolution, said the Congress had no moral right to talk of secularism after Rajiv Gandhi opened the gates of Ramlala temple in Ayodhya and allowed shilanyas, thus stirring a hornets' nest.

On the other hand, he said, Telugu Desam redefined secularism. NT Rama Rao was the first to condemn the demolition of the Babri masjid and blamed the Congress government in Delhi for being a `helpless witness to the outrage'. The Congress was blamed for whipping up the 1990-91 communal carnage in Andhra Pradesh with the sole motive of unseating the then Chief Minister.

Defending the party's secular credentials in the context of its support to the Vajpayee government, Mr. Yerran Naidu said it was only issue-based outside support on the basis of an agreed agenda.

The TDP had never hesitated to raise its voice whenever secularism was under threat.

The resolution pointed out that TDP protested at 'Saraswati vandanam', the Gujarat decision to allow government servants to participate in RSS activities and saffronisation of education, aaand stopped ramsevaks from AP going to Ayodhya for shiladan.

It maintained consistently that the only solution to the Ayodhya issue lay in the Supreme Court verdict which everybody should honour.

The TDP was among the first to condemn both the Godhra carnage and the violent reprisals and demanded that the Chief Minister resign to restore normality.

It regarded Gujarat as a national issue endangering its unity and not as an isolated one of concern to Gujarat alone.

Mr. Yerran Naidu said the Congress symbolised corruption and lust for power. If it ruled 14 states, it also had no presence in several big States.

How could the party with 140 seats hope to capture power at the Centre?. He charged the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, with causing premature dissolution of the Lok Sabha twice just to fulfil her ambition to become Prime Minister.

The Congress portrayed regional parties as harmful to the country's unity, but now its leaders had no qualms in saying it would come to power in Delhi with the support of the very same regional outfits.

The party president, N. Chandrababu Naidu, said TDP's anti-Congress posture was `a historical necessity'.

No regional party played such a crucial role at the national level as the TDP.

The conference also adopted separate resolutions on secularism, Centre-State ties, foreign policy and law and order. Mr. Chandrababu Naidu and C. Ramachandraiah, U. Venkateswarlu, MPs, strongly condemned the 'provocative' actions of Pakistan and the attacks on Parliament House and the Kashmir Assembly by Pakistan-inspired Islamic fundamentalist outfits. It condemned the killing of Hurriyat leader Lone.

They said it was time for all political parties, organisations and people to be united and defend the motherland. No sacrifice was too great.

The TDP would support the Vajpayee government in its bid to face the challenge from Pakistan.

Recommended for you