Saturday, Jun 14, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
"The Pope has no authority to talk about any legislation passed by democratically-elected governments in India," Ms. Jayalalithaa told the media here, reacting to the concerns expressed by the Pope recently over laws against conversions in India. When a scribe pointed out that the Pope was the supreme pontiff of the Christian community, the Chief Minister shot back: "So what?"
As for the ideological similarities between the AIADMK and the BJP, especially on the religious conversion issue, Ms. Jayalalithaa insisted that there were similarities as also dissimilarities and it meant nothing whatsoever politically.
The AIADMK, she insisted, remained "equidistant" from both the BJP and the Congress now. But, more categorically, she said the party would not align with the Congress if it projected Sonia Gandhi as its prime ministerial candidate. When would she launch her proposed anti-Sonia Gandhi campaign? "When it is necessary," she said.
With the next parliamentary election about a year away, the AIADMK leader said she envisaged a situation where no political combination would be able to form a Government at the Centre without the AIADMK's support. Only when the AIADMK assumed a powerful position at the Centre would the injustice meted out to Tamil Nadu, including on the Cauvery issue, end, she claimed. But, her party had no plans to expand its base to other States, and would only focus on the 40 parliamentary seats in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry.
Ms. Jayalalithaa, who had earlier advocated a political front alternative to both the BJP and the Congress at the Centre, said there was every possibility of a third front emerging at the national level. But it would have to wait till the coming Assembly elections to a few States, as only after the polls would major parties consider it.
Asked if she nurtured prime ministerial ambitions, the Chief Minister without a reply, left the press conference hall with a warm smile and folded hands.
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