“She is jittery about growing strength of NDA in State”

The BJP on Friday said the “sudden” criticism mounted by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on the party and the ‘Gujarat model of development’ showed she was “jittery” about the growing strength of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Tamil Nadu.

Addressing a press conference here, party’s national secretary and in-charge of Tamil Nadu affairs Muralidhar Rao said the BJP had been consistently accused of going soft on the AIADMK in its election campaign.

The party avoided a direct confrontation with the AIADMK as the elections were for the Centre and not the State. But, Ms. Jayalalithaa had now equated the BJP to the Congress and forced a reply out of the party. “We did not think she would make that comparison,” he said.

Rebutting Ms. Jayalalithaa’s reported statement that a myth was being created that Gujarat was the number one State in the country, Mr. Rao said the BJP was ready for an open debate on the performance of the two States.

Reeling out statistics, Mr. Rao said in 2012-2013, agriculture grew at the rate of 8.46 per cent in Gujarat whereas the figure in Tamil Nadu was only 4.04 per cent. The growth rate of Gujarat in manufacturing and services sector for 2011-2012 was 10.89 per cent and 10.60 per cent respectively whereas in Tamil Nadu, it was 9.69 and 9.60 per cent. “In many of the sectors, Gujarat is doing equally good or better than Tamil Nadu,” he said.

When pointed out that Gujarat lagged behind in many social indicators such as malnutrition and infant mortality, Mr. Rao said improvement in such areas required an extended period of growth and performance. While Tamil Nadu had always possessed a strong bureaucracy and leadership, the case wasn’t so in Gujarat.

‘We are ready for

a debate on the performance of Tamil Nadu and Gujarat’