Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, leading the campaign of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam for the April 24 Lok Sabha election in the State, intensified her attack on the BJP and specifically targeted its prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, on Thursday. Her vigorous criticism is seen as a tactical move to counter a possible Muslim consolidation behind the DMK in the election.
Days after openly criticising Mr. Modi, the AIADMK leader, campaigning in Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri, yet again said the BJP and the Congress had “betrayed” Tamil Nadu in getting its due share of Cauvery waters from Karnataka.
After slamming the previous DMK regime for the “tardy” implementation of the Rs. 1,892-crore Hogenakkal water scheme for Dharmapuri, Ms. Jayalalithaa said the former Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee only spoke of “interlinking major rivers,” but did not implement the plan.
She said her government had already taken certain steps to link rivers within the State — the Thamirabarani-Karumeniaru-Nambiar link, for instance. She asked Mr. Modi if he would allocate Rs. 6,500 crore to link rivers in Tamil Nadu if he were to become Prime Minister. She wanted to know if the BJP would guarantee uninterrupted release of Cauvery waters to Tamil Nadu. Despite Gujarat’s claims of being in the forefront in many fields, Tamil Nadu was way ahead of it in industrial investments, poverty alleviation and reducing infant and maternal mortality, Ms. Jayalalithaa said taking another jibe at Mr. Modi.
The Chief Minister’s stepped-up attack on the BJP comes close on the heels of the decision of the Tamil Nadu Towheed Jamath, a key Muslim outfit, to break ties with the AIADMK for “failing to criticise” the party on the anti-minorities aspects in its election manifesto, such as those on the uniform civil code and construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.
The outfit has decided to back the Congress in three constituencies and the DMK, which already has roped in the Indian Union Muslim League and the Manithaneya Makkal Katchi, in the rest, in a shot in the arm for the DMK.