TAMIL NADU

Opposition criticism only to hide its wrongdoings: CM

SRIVILLIPUTTUR OCT. 22. The Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, today accused the Opposition parties of "trying to cast aspersions" on her Government only to "hide their omissions and wrongdoings."

Speaking at a function organised here to inaugurate welfare schemes, laying foundation stones for new projects and distribution of benefits under various schemes, worth Rs. 234.67 crores, Ms. Jayalalithaa said she was chalking out plans to usher in a "golden era" in the history of Tamil Nadu, even as the Opposition leaders, who had been rejected by the Tamils, were "lamenting their fate."

There was a world of difference between Yudhishtra and Duryodhana, who belonged to the same class, she said. Identifying herself with the former, she said "I am different from other Dravidian leaders, who simply claim to follow the footsteps of Anna, and the State can never develop under their leadership."

In a veiled attack on the DMK president, M. Karunanidhi, and the Mayiladuthurai MP, Manishankar Aiyar (who was assaulted near Karaikal while returning from a government function in Nagapattinam recently), she said "I was in no way responsible for the missile launched from Gopalapuram which fell down as a damp squib in Nagapattinam."

She had graduated from the MGR `pasarai', Ms. Jayalalithaa said. ``I am a revolutionary flame and not afraid of such fake crackers."

The Chief Minister expressed her gratitude to the people, who had supported her, unmindful of the "political gimmicks of those leaders."

Earlier, the Minister for Social Welfare, B. Valarmathi, questioned the "political decency" of the DMK, when Ms. Jayalalithaa was assaulted in the well of the Assembly and an attempt was made on her life at the Meenambakkam airport. "The father-son duo, who often talk about change of guard in the State, are only day-dreaming," she said. ``As long as Ms. Jayalalithaa is there, no one can even peep into Fort St. George."

Replying to Mr. Aiyar's challenge to Ms. Jayalalithaa whether she would dare make a statement against Congress leaders at the Sathyamoorthy Bhavan, Ms. Valarmathi recalled that the Chief Minister had referred to the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, as "a foreign lady" in New Delhi itself.

The Speaker, K. Kalimuthu, who presided over the function, accused the Opposition leaders of criticising each and every step taken by the Government without looking at them in the ``right perspective.'' Such allegations could not damage the Chief Minister's reputation, he said. "Ms. Jayalalithaa has the capability to determine the future of the country."

Ms. Jayalalithaa announced an allotment of Rs. 9.82 crores for constructing an integrated court complex, along with quarters for the judicial officers, at Srivilliputtur. The construction work of the Irrukkangudi reservoir would be completed by March 2004, she said.

The Minister for Sports and Youth Welfare, Inbathtamilan, and the District Collector, A. Mohammed Aslam, spoke.

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