Jayalalithaa, Karunanidhi, Vijayakant converge in Chennai with 2 more days of electioneering left
As the campaign dust rises into a storm over the city’s skyscape, the Dravidian stalwarts wielded their word power to launch personal attacks against each other.
On the second day of campaigning in the city, AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa launched a scathing attack on the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre, of which the DMK was part of for nine long years.
In North Chennai on Sunday, Ms. Jayalalithaa said the DMK’s charge was that the ruling government was blocking welfare schemes. “We have not stopped schemes benefiting people. We have only stifled those that will benefit the DMK,” she clarified.
The AIADMK leader said that she had opposed and thwarted the GAIL pipeline project as it affected farmers of eight western districts.
The Methane project in Thanjavur was opposed as it would render farmlands into a desert and the Sethusamudram project as it would be detrimental to environment, affecting the lives of fishermen, Ms. Jayalalithaa said, adding that these projects were “money-spinners to fill the DMK’s coffers.”
In the case of the Maduravoyal-Chennai Port direct freight corridor, the government wanted the pillars to be erected on the banks of the Cooum and not on the river bed as per the original design that could lead to heavy flooding in the city during rains, she contended.
Meanwhile, DMK president M. Karunanidhi, campaigning for Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi’s Tiruvallur candidate D. Ravikumar in Avadi, wondered how a Chief Minister earning a monthly salary of Rs. 1 was being tried in a disproportionate assets case in a [special] court in Bangalore, where the declared assets were worth several crores.
While Ms. Jayalalithaa said on Saturday that she was ill and popped a pill to hit the campaign trail, Mr. Karunanidhi on Sunday said he was ill and was attending the public meeting [in Avadi] despite doctors’ advice against it.
The DMK leader also lamented that he could not stand and address the crowd after a surgery was performed on him a few years ago.
As elections were for the Lok Sabha, he asked the people to vote with conscience, knowing whether the new government would stand by the Tamils during times of danger or ignore them in the name of God.
Meanwhile, DMDK president Vijayakant, campaigning in Chennai Central Lok Sabha constituency, said that he was at Sowcarpet, Tamil Nadu’s Gujarat.
Terming the ruling government “anti-people,” he said the only special feature of the AIADMK rule was the Tasmac shops – a reference to the government running the retail liquor trade in the State.
In an impromptu speech with comical interludes, Mr. Vijayakant, in an apparent reference to Ms. Jayalalithaa, said he neither read from a text nor travelled in helicopters, aircraft or on sealed roads for campaigning.