Jaya attacks BJP for first time
In her first ever attack against BJP in her ongoing election campaign, AIADMK supremo and Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa on Sunday said the party was no different from Congress on the emotive Cauvery issue.
‘With an eye on Lok Sabha seats in the elections the saffron party has not even mentioned the issue in its 2014 poll manifesto,’ she said in back-to-back election rallies in Karur and Perambalur constituencies.
Slamming Congress, DMK and BJP for their ‘betrayal’ of the state on the vexed river water dispute, she asked the state electorate to give a firm drubbing to the candidates of all three parties, saying they should lose deposit in the 24 April Lok Sabha polls.
Going down memory lane, Jayalalithaa reasoned that she had quit NDA in 1999 on the Cauvery issue, after her pleas for implementation of the interim award of the Cauvery Tribunal by a body of officials with control over Karnataka dams were not heeded to by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Instead, he had constituted Cauvery River Water Authority with Prime Minister as its head and four southern state Chief Ministers as members even as DMK was ruling Tamil Nadu then.
‘I opposed the Authority as it would be of no use. Since the BJP declined to form an empowered group of officials, and that serving no justice for Tamil Nadu, I withdrew AIADMK from the government and party’s support to NDA later,’ she said.
The Centre then approached Karunanidhi to get his approval for setting up of the Authority after which DMK aligned with BJP and also participated in the Cabinet, she said.
Jayalalithaa’s attack, which came on a day when BJP leader Narendra Modi is scheduled to address a public meeting in Chennai, is the first direct one against the latter as opposition parties including DMK and Congress have questioned her election strategy of sparing BJP from any criticism.
While the chances of both Congress and BJP to form government in the upper riparian state of
Karnataka were equal, neither could do the same in Tamil Nadu and therefore both parties had similar approach towards the Cauvery issue, she alleged.
‘Both parties in Karnataka are determined in not releasing even a drop of water from Cauvery to Tamil Nadu,’ the chief minister charged.
‘There is no mention of the Cauvery issue in the BJP’s manifesto. So aren’t the leaders talking about it? If BJP leaders even say that due share of Tamil Nadu in the river will be released, BJP will not get any votes in Karnataka. BJP cannot win a single seat there,’ Jayalalithaa said.
She asked if BJP’s allies in Tamil Nadu including leaders of MDMK and PMK, Vaiko and S Ramadoss, have got any guarantee on water release from BJP.
‘In the past we have only been betrayed by non-release of water from Cauvery. Those (TN parties) who had allied with BJP cannot solve this livelihoood issue and they also know it.
Have they decided if it is ok if we don’t get water? If so, can there be a bigger betrayal,’ she asked.
Opposition parties have been questioning Jayalalithaa’s election strategy of sparing BJP of any criticsm, and Congress leader and Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram is in the forefront of this attack, dubbing AIADMK as BJP’s ‘B-team’
Any vote to the ruling party would help the saffron party, he had claimed.
While Jayalalithaa was soft on BJP, its state unit leaders had adopted a similar line which showed ‘the cat is out of the bag,’ the Sivaganga MP had said.