Barely a day after Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram opted out of the Lok Sabha poll race in favour of his son Karti P. Chidambaram, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leader and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa dubbed the former’s move as stemming from a “fear of defeat” in the ensuing election.

As the AIADMK leader’s campaign in Mr. Chidambaram’s home turf of Sivaganga got more strident on Friday, Ms. Jayalalithaa rubbished his claims that the AIADMK was a “B team to someone in this election,” asserting her party was not a “substitute” to anyone.

“Our team is the main team that entered the fray to fight for the rights of people, to take the State in the path of development, to give importance for Tamil language, to bring down skyrocketing prices and to remove the anti-people government,” Ms. Jayalalithaa said addressing an election rally in Karaikudi.

Likening the election strategy of the Congress and its erstwhile ally, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), to the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket match, Ms. Jayalalithaa said descriptions such as ‘A team and B team’ would only apply to the Congress and its allies. On the contrary, the AIADMK is the “main team in this election,” she said.

Terming Mr. Chidambaram’s victory in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls from Sivaganga questionable, Ms. Jayalalithaa said he had this time given way to his son “as he feared defeat.”

Charging the Finance Minister with pushing the Indian economy to the brink of collapse, Ms. Jayalalithaa said that Mr. Chidambaram, as a sitting MP, neither made any attempt to develop the constituency nor the country. It was during his tenure as Finance Minister that “inflation touched a new high, growth rate nosedived and the Rupee value against the U.S. Dollar fell drastically,” the AIADMK leader pointed out.

Linking of rivers

Earlier, addressing an election meeting at Thiruthangal near Sivakasi, Ms. Jayalalithaa questioned the credibility of the DMK manifesto and asked why the party was silent on inter-linking rivers for 17 years when it was part of various governments at the Centre. The DMK was once again making false promises to the electorate in its manifesto, she charged. “If the AIADMK gets a strong say in the next government at the Centre, it will protect the nation’s interests. Your vote decides the future of India and give me a thumping mandate in the election,” the Chief Minister appealed.

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