'Misunderstandings can be resolved'

Print edition : August 29, 1998

"Our party has unanimously decided to continue to support the BJP, and to have no truck with the Congress(I) at any point of time. We are part of the AIADMK alliance. I am confident the alliance will continue," says Vaiko, general secretary of the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. Excerpts from an interview he gave T.S. Subramanian in Chennai on August 23:

How do you perceive the uncertainty caused by the threats held out to the Government by the BJP's allies?

In coalition politics, differences of opinion are bound to arise. From now, only coalition governments are possible and every State party wants to put its stamp on the governance of the country. I feel that the BJP-led Government has definitely fared well. The present situation will not continue for ever. Time could heal the wounds caused to coalition partners.

Instead of waiting for time to heal the wounds, does the BJP-led Government have a clear strategy to end the rift? Will it take definite measures to deal with the AIADMK?

Bitter infighting in European countries among coalition partners has not affected the economy and governance. Proper coordination among coalition partners will definitely help resolve any issue. I hope such coordination will emerge out of necessity.

Have the problems come out of fundamental ideological differences, clash of personalities, or the style of functioning of the BJP?

We cannot attribute specific reasons for this. In this context, it will be pertinent to point to what is happening in the Congress(I), the so-called monolith with a (so-called) able leadership. The leaders of the Congress(I) are at each other's throat. When such serious infighting takes place in a single political party, differences of opinion among coalition partners are not strange. The misunderstandings among the BJP's allies can, therefore, be resolved amicably.

What does the future hold for the BJP-led Government?

The Government will be able to deliver the goods. The initial criticism of its performance, particularly on the economic front, will disappear. Better days are ahead. The initial criticism of the nuclear tests is not there today. The Third World countries stood by us in Manila (at the ASEAN Regional Forum meeting).

-S. THANTONI

Leaders of the AIADMK's allies including yourself, Dr.S. Ramadoss of the Pattali Makkal Katchi and Vazhapadi K. Ramamurthi of the Tamilaga Rajiv Congress have made it clear to Jayalalitha that they would continue to support the BJP even if the AIADMK withdrew its support in protest against the Cauvery accord. What made you take such a stand?

Our party has unanimously decided to continue to support the BJP and to have no truck with the Congress(I) at any point of time. The MDMK is part of the AIADMK alliance. I am confident that the alliance will continue.

Regarding the Cauvery issue, our considered opinion is that Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi has betrayed the interests of the Cauvery delta farmers in Tamil Nadu. It was he who was responsible for the withdrawal of the case in the Supreme Court in 1972. His unwarranted utterances caused the resignation of the then Chairman of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal Justice Chittatosh Mookerjee. Karnataka has stood its ground and has gained what it wanted all these years. But Karunanidhi, in order to create an impression of being a flexible and accommodative leader, compromised Tamil Nadu's interests. Veto power has been given to Karnataka so that no decision contrary to its perception will ever be implemented. We have, therefore, returned to square one. Owing to the powerful role played by the media at the behest of the Chief Minister, the people of Tamil Nadu are under the impression that something has been achieved. It is the duty of parties such as the AIADMK, the MDMK, the PMK and the TRC to tell the truth to the people.

Our party's view is that the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister is to be blamed. The Prime Minister played only a mediatory role. When one of the warring parties compromised its basic stand, the mediator cannot be blamed.

If the BJP-led Government stabilises, will you join the Government?

I will not become a Minister and I will not join the Government. Regarding the MDMK joining the Ministry, its district secretaries have authorised the office-bearers to take a decision. If the situation warrants, we will decide.

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