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DMK denies Jayalalithaa's version of pandemonium in House

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI March 26. The Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa's, version of the events which led to pandemonium in the Assembly on March 25, 1989, as detailed in the House today, was rebutted by the DMK president, M. Karunanidhi.

According to her, just as Mr. Karunanidhi prepared to present the budget, she tried to raise a privilege issue. Though the then Speaker did not permit, she persisted with her demand. It was then that Mr. Karunanidhi uttered words which ``should not be spoken'' by a Chief Minister.

Ms. Jayalalithaa said she had asked Mr. Karunanidhi why he was speaking in a manner unbecoming of a Chief Minister. Immediately, Veerapandi Arumugam and other DMK MLAs tried to shout her down.

Ms. Jayalalithaa recalled that yesterday the leader of the Opposition, K. Anbazhagan, said he was present in the House at the time of the incidents and asked whether an occurrence of this nature could take place in front of so many people. The fact remained that the DMK MLAs left their seats and told Mr. Karunanidhi that they would take care of the woman, who was not allowing the Chief Minister to read the budget.

After this, Ms. Jayalalithaa said, Mr. Karunanidhi and Mr. Anbazhagan were escorted to the back rows and the DMK MLAs attacked her with paperweights, which were kept on tables, and heavy budget papers. Mr. Arumugam folded his dhoti, jumped across a separating desk, took the bell on the Speaker's chair and threw it at her. He also tried to attack her with the Assembly Secretary's chair, she said.

The Chief Minister said that at that point three of her MLAs, S. Thirunavukkarasu, K. K. S. S. R. Ramachandran and Papa Sundaram, shielded her and tried to protect her. Mr. Durai Murugan pulled her by the hair and when her MLAs tried to take her away from there, her saree was pulled by the same member. She yelled and Mr. Ramachandran hit Mr. Durai Murugan hard in the wrist to free his grip on her saree.

Mr. Karunanidhi's first wife, Dayalu Ammal, was witnessing the incident from the visitors' box, while Rajathi Ammal watched from the box directly opposite to that, Ms. Jayalalithaa said. After all this, it was ``painful'' to see Mr. Ramachandran (now with the DMK) maintaining a silence, she said. If he had a conscience, he would know that all these were facts.

Ms. Jayalalithaa said the then Speaker too was a witness but he did not take any action. As she emerged from the House with her torn clothes and dishellved hair, she was photographed by press photographers. All this was part of recorded history, Ms. Jayalalithaa said and added she was under no compulsion to seek sympathy.

`Plot hatched at Poes Garden'

Later, talking to presspersons, Mr. Ramachandran said a plot to create disturbances in the House was hatched that morning at Ms.Jayalalithaa's Poes Garden residence. He said he was party to the decision and that Ms. Jayalalithaa was responsible for the commencement of the actions, leading to the disgraceful events. Ms. Jayalalithaa had asked him to speak his conscience but he was denied a chance of doing so in the House.

Karunanidhi draws parallel

Reacting, Mr. Karunanidhi drew a parallel and said that when the present Finance Minister, C. Ponnaiyan, began presenting his budget, one Opposition member raised a privilege issue. The Speaker, K. Kalimuthu, ruled that when the Minister was presenting the budget, no such issue could be raised. A similar event took place in 1989, when Ms. Jayalalithaa raised a privilege issue. When she was denied permission, she directed her partymen to ``snatch the budget papers,'' which led to the pandemonium.

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