Congress rejects Jayalalithaa’s offer of support (Second Lead)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

NEW DELHI/CHENNAI - The Congress Thursday rejected AIADMK chief J. Jayalalithaa’s offer of support to the UPA government in the event of the DMK deciding to withdraw from the ruling coalition in case Telecom Minister A. Raja is asked to go in view of the 2G spectrum allocation controversy.

At the moment it is very clear that DMK is our important alliance partner. Whatever Jayalalithaa has said is her view. We have nothing to comment on it, party general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said here.

Jayalalithaa Thursday offered to back the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) if it decided on sacking of tainted minister A. Raja, who belongs to alliance partner DMK, over his alleged involvement in the 2G spectrum allocation.

Jayalalithaa made the offer in an interview to TimesNow television channel, saying she had no conditions behind propping Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government beyond restoring probity in public life.

The former Tamil Nadu chief minister said the AIADMK had nine members in the Lok Sabha and with the help of “like-minded parties” could offer support of 18 MPs — to make up for the DMK’s 18 if the latter withdrew its legislative backing to Manmohan Singh.

She said she was making the unilateral gesture on the presumption that the prime minister was not sacking Raja despite mounting demands for his ouster over the spectrum scam fearing this could rob him of the majority support in the Lok Sabha and perhaps lead to early elections.

“The reason is very simple. It is coalition politics. To put it plainly and bluntly, it is obvious the Congress feels that any precipitate action against Raja will result in the DMK withdrawing its support to the union coalition government, and the Congress obviously fears that its fragile coalition will collapse and this will lead to mid-term polls,” she said.

Jayalalithaa warned that any further delay in moving against Raja — who has refused to quit and who enjoys the solid backing of the DMK chief K. Karunanidhi — would further dent the image of the Congress.

The report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), submitted to the government Wednesday, is believed to have indicted Communications and Information Technology Minister A. Raja.

The scam is said to have caused a loss of Rs.1.76 lakh crore to the government.

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