Cong, PMK lock horns in TN Assembly over LTTE

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Chennai, Nov 14 (UNI) The Congress, a constituent of the DMK-led DPA, and its estranged ally PMK today locked horns in the Tamil Nadu Assembly over the banned Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), resulting in noisy scenes for some time.

During Zero Hour, members of the pro-LTTE, PMK, MDMK and the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) raised the LTTE issue and wanted to know the state government's stand in the wake of Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's assertion that he would not declare ceasefire and would fight out LTTE militarily.

PMK Floor Leader G K Mani said people of the State and the Tamils were in a state of ferment following Mr Rajapkasa's remarks that he would not stop the military attacks against LTTE.

He said innocent Tamils were being killed in the name of war against LTTE and wanted Chief Minister M Karunanidhi to spell out his government's stand.

Objecting to it, C Gnanasekaran (Congress) said such remarks by the PMK member were aimed at diverting the issue and amounted to supporting LTTE, which his party was opposing.

He said Mr Mani was trying to portray that his party was even prepared to carry arms in support of LTTE, which triggered instant protests from the PMK, MDMK, VCK and the Left parties.

Since the Congress was second to none in espousing the cause of Lankan Tamils, it had supported the unanimous resolution passed in the Assembly despite having paid a heavy price when Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by LTTE.

This triggered noisy scenes as there were shouts and counter shouts.

At one stage, members of both the parties were seen gesticulating at each other and Speaker R Avudaiyappan told Mr Gnanasekaran that the PMK leader had not said like that.

Continuing his speech, Mr Gnanasekaran went a step further and charged the PMK with drumming up support for LTTE by stating that people were agitated by Mr Rajapaksa's announcement on no to ceasefire.

He also accused the PMK of taking advantage of the situation by describing that people were in a state of anger in Tamil Nadu, triggering yet another round of protests with a PMK member charging Mr Gnanasekaran of acting as a stooge of the Lankan President.

However, the Speaker defused the situation by stating that the Chief Minister would be replying to the concerns raised by the members.

During his reply, the Chief Minister, regretting over the clash between the Congress and the PMK (both part of the government at the Centre), said the unity and unanimity displayed by the political parties when the House adopted the resolution calling for ceasefire on November 12, did not last for even two days.

''This showed how people change in two days,'' he said.


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