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Karunanidhi lauds LTTE as Sonia looks on

[TOI, Sunday, 10 May 2009 19:30 No Comment]

Ignoring security concerns and keen to showcase the ‘‘strong friendship’’ between the DMK patriarch and herself, Congress president Sonia Gandhi campaigned with chief minister M Karunanidhi in Chennai on Sunday seeking another mandate for the UPA from Tamil Nadu on the plank of development.

"Tamil Nadu’s mandate of 40 out of 40 in 2004 had helped the UPA form a government at the Centre,’’ she said. ‘‘It was your vote that made it possible. Renew our mandate,’’ she said to a rapturous crowd.

Saying that the UPA had not let down Tamil people. She sought to dispel the impression that the UPA had worked against Tamils in Lanka.

Surprisingly, Karunanidhi read out a few lines from his elegy to slain LTTE political wing head S P Tamilselvan, a poem that caused a controversy when it appeared in November 2007, in the presence of Sonia Gandhi. It was to make the point that when he had penned the elegy, AIADMK’s J Jayalalithaa had demanded his government’s dismissal alleging that it had lost credibility after he had paid a tribute to a leader of LTTE, a banned outfit in India.

He said Jayalalithaa was now promising ‘Tamil Eelam’, but when occasion arose for holding peace talks, she opposed it. ‘‘Her categorical opposition to the idea found mention in the Governor’s address to the Assembly,’’ Karunanidhi said.

Refusing to be drawn into political rhetoric over Eelam, Sonia, however, said the ultimate goal was to secure for the Sri Lankan Tamils equal rights and equal status within the unified framework of Sri Lanka as per the 1987 Indo-Sri Lankan accord. Like every Tamil, she was ‘‘deeply pained’’ and ‘‘personally anguished’’ at the suffering of Lankan Tamils.

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