Date: 8/29/2002



By Sanjay K Jha/New Delhi

Jayalalitha at her acerbic best. Target: Sonia Gandhi. Result: Congress seething in rage. BJP chuckling.

All of a sudden on Wednesday, AIADMK chief and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha chose to spew venom on the Congress president. And as is her wont, she hit where it hurts most: Sonia Gandhi's Italian origin. Observing that it will be a "disaster" for the country if she becomes the Prime Minister, the mercurial leader blared forth, "The AIADMK is firmly committed to supporting only an Indian to become Prime Minister of this country.

The AIADMK feels it is a crying shame and a pointer to moral bankruptcy on the part of the Congress which claims to be a national party that won freedom for the country from foreign rule. Now the party is making an about-turn, U-turn once again to put up a foreigner in India."

It all began when she was asked whether her party would tie up with the Congress in the next Lok Sabha elections. She replied, "Certainly not with the Congress."

As reporters shifted to other subjects, the AIADMK supremo provoked: "Are you not interested in knowing why?" She was in a mood to rub the message in. After a pause, she unleashed a savage attack on Ms Gandhi, who is enjoying her growing acceptability of late.

Trust Ms Jayalalitha for such somersaults. And the wild attack, too.

But the Congress, which won't miss an opportunity to defend the temperamental silver screen queen of yesteryears, was always so reluctant to learn a lesson. Finally, it says, it won't sup with her, not even tea, no matter how long the spoon is.

The Congress leaders too didn't mince words. One senior AICC functionary said, "We know she has to suck up to the Government at this juncture. She is bound to fall at the feet of Sonia Gandhi at the next elections. But enough is enough." He rubbished the AIADMK leader's tirade by asking, "who is concerned about Jayalalitha's wisdom? Everybody knows her."

Officially, spokesperson Jaipal Reddy said, "Everybody knows the infinite and instant need of Jayalalitha to ingratiate herself with the Vajpayee Government to get herself extricated from a host of criminal cases. Her compulsions for the 180 degree somersault is obvious." Mr Reddy added that Ms Jayalalitha was not "well-placed to deliver lectures to the country."

He added that the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister needed to explain her position. "Who took the initiative to destabilise the Vajpayee Government in 1999? She should explain her U-turn," Mr Reddy said, arguing that she was now flogging a dead horse. He also nailed Ms Jayalalitha's "lie" by claiming that she had submitted a letter of support for Ms Sonia Gandhi to the President in 1999.

Ms Jayalalitha denied having ever supported Ms Gandhi for the post of Prime Minister, and said, "show me one statement." Asked as to why she had supported Ms Gandhi in 1999 when she invited her to the controversial tea party which culminated in the toppling of Vajpayee Government, she said the tea party had nothing to do with making Ms Gandhi the Prime Minister. She recalled that in the post-Vajpayee Government fall situation she had backed Marxist veteran Jyoti Basu as Prime Minister and accused Ms Gandhi of "scuttling" the move when "everyone in the Opposition had agreed."

Congress leaders said she was distorting facts. Some Congress leaders from Tamil Nadu, who were in Delhi on Wednesday, told The Pioneer that this was not for the first time the AIADMK leader had raised the issue of Ms Gandhi's foreign origin. She openly harped on the subject during her alliance with the BJP in the first instance.

Then she changed her tune when her party tied up with the Congress in last year's Assembly elections, saying the chapter was closed as even the Supreme Court had said she was an Indian.\story1&d=FRONT_PAGE


What about the "mouse" on UNION Territory with "Singh" in his name? Was he looking forward to "RULE BY MEMSAHIB"?

Who does HIS wife relate to in Rashtrapati Bhawan or in SONIA KHAN'S household?