Today's Paper

We will work for non-BJP, non-Cong. government at Centre: Jayalalithaa

CHENNAI NOV. 6. The AIADMK will strive for the formation of a non-BJP and non-Congress government at the Centre, the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, told the Assembly today.

Blaming the national parties for their "continued betrayal" of the interests of Tamil Nadu on the Cauvery issue, Ms Jayalalithaa said, "Be it a Central government headed by the Congress or the BJP or the Janata Dal, injustice has been handed to Tamil Nadu. Only a Central government, devoid of the Congress or the BJP, will render justice to the State", she said, adding parties such as the CPI (M) should help her in enabling the establishment of such a government in the post-poll scenario.

Ms. Jayalalithaa was intervening in a debate on supplementary demands when J. Hemachandran (CPI-M) said the State Government did not hold talks with Karnataka on the Cauvery as it thought that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance Government at the Centre would come to its rescue. He faulted the AIADMK and NDA Governments for their wrong approach to the issue.

Elaborating her point, the Chief Minister said the Congress, the BJP and the Janata Dal, because of their "political stakes" in Karnataka, had been letting down the people of Tamil Nadu. "With an eye on their vote bank in Karnataka, they do not want to do justice to Tamil Nadu". But "these parties can never come to power in Tamil Nadu. The people of the State, particularly Cauvery delta farmers, will rebuff them when they seek their mandate at the time of elections", she said, amid thumping of desks by ruling party members.

Denying Mr. Hemachandran's contention, Ms Jayalalithaa said her Government had been taking all efforts to get the State's share of Cauvery water. In fact, she had criticised the Centre and the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, so strongly on the issue that the Supreme Court passed strictures on her. So, it was not correct to say the State Government wanted to please the Union Government.

Moreover, she wondered, what purpose would be served by holding talks with the Karnataka Government, which had been functioning "arbitrarily", disregarding the orders/directions of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, the Supreme Court and the Cauvery River Authority. Negotiations with the neighbouring State failed to yield results in the past. In this context, she recalled the attempts by the former Chief Ministers, M.G.Ramachandran and M. Karunanidhi, to resolve the dispute through talks.

Speaking on the first supplementary demands for grants, G.Palanichamy (CPI) said both the DMK and the AIADMK, which ruled the State for about 40 years, had politicised the issue. Ms.Jayalalithaa retorted, saying the AIADMK had never politicised the Cauvery tangle; it was the DMK which sought to gain political mileage out of the issue. It was because of the AIADMK initiative that the Cauvery Tribunal and the Authority were created; it was the AIADMK Government which approached the Supreme Court, immediately after coming to power, to get the share of water due to the State. But the Karnataka Government refused to obey the orders of any forum. The AIADMK had even pulled out of the BJP-led Central Government on this issue.