Jayalalithaa offers to prop Congress if DMK goes out


New Delhi/Chennai : AIADMK leader J. Jayalalithaa Thursday offered to back the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) if its sacking of tainted minister A. Raja over his alleged involvement in the 2G spectrum scam led his party DMK to withdraw support.

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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 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, who allegedly sold 2G spectrum in 2008 at lower prices than the market rates causing a loss of Rs.1.76 lakh crore to the government.

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.

She declined to reveal who are the other MPs — apart from the AIADMK’s nine in the Lok Sabha — who will rally with her to the aid of the Manmohan Singh government if it lost majority support in the Lok Sabha.

“There are no conditions from my side,” she said.

The government has, however, firmly ruled out the opposition demand for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into the controversial spectrum allotment.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said there was no need for a JPC inquiry as the CAG report would be tabled in parliament soon.

“The report will become the property of parliament and will be studied by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of parliament to recommend any action if needed,” Bansal told reporters in New Delhi.

Bansal said graft was an “issue of concern for all and the Congress has set examples for zero tolerance to corruption”.