Mounting a blistering attack on the Congress-led UPA Government, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Monday accused it of “plundering” the nation in the last ten years and appealed to the people to throw it out in the coming Lok Sabha elections.
“The Congress-led Government at the Centre had plundered the country in the last ten years. This anti-people Congress rule should be removed. I am sure that people are against Congress returning to power,” the AIADMK supremo said launching her first phase of poll campaign from this temple town known for its silk garments.
Addressing a rally, amidst loud cheers of “Amma”, she appealed to the electorate to ensure that the AIADMK would be part of the next government to safeguard the rights of Tamils, indicating her national ambitions.
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Lashing out at the Congress, she accused it of betraying people of Tamil Nadu on at least ten issues, including Sri Lankan Tamils issue, attack on fishermen from the state and on Katchatheevu retrieval.
She also blamed the “wrong economic policies” of the UPA for the price rise and other ills faced by the people and accused it of neglecting the defence sector.
Resorting to her usual style of engaging people, Jayalalithaa during her about 45-minute long speech, asked the crowd whether they needed such a government, evoking a positive roar “no” in response.
“Last time in the assembly elections I had appealed to you all to throw out the family rule (DMK) and you obliged me. Now I am here to ask you to remove anti-people Congress government and am confident you will do it. It is our duty to remove the anti-people and corrupt Congress government,” she said.
Referring to various corruption charges that surfaced during the UPA regime, she listed out “Himalayan 2G scam, helicopter scam, coal scam CWG scam. The list of scams against the Congress rule is endless.. in this DMK spearheaded the 2G scam,” she said.
She castigated arch-rival DMK, saying the party had been supporting the “anti-people UPA Government” and did nothing for the state despite being part of the central government in the past about 17 years.
“The DMK came to power by seeking votes promising to work for the welfare of the people. But Karunanidhi did nothing. We need to teach a fitting lesson to it in the coming election,” she said.
Calling the Congress Government a “traitor” of Tamils’ interest, Jayalalithaa said it had provided tacit help to the Sri Lankan government which had committed “genocide” of Tamils.
She said the Congress-led UPA not only betrayed the Tamils, but also the state government by “interfering” in its rights, and cited the “unilateral” effort to set up the National Counter Terrorism Centre and enact the GST Act.
Referring to allowing FDI in retail, rise in inflation and prices of fertilisers besides fall in Rupee’s value, she said the people now had a “good opportunity” to teach a lesson to the Congress and the DMK which was supporting it.
The coming polls was not only an opportunity for a regime change, but also for restructuring India’s growth trajectory and to protect it from foreign threats, she said.
In her address, Jayalalithaa did not name any individual barring Karunanidhi and refrained from referring to any other party other than Congress and DMK.
Dwelling at length on the issues related to defence sector, the Chief Minister said the Congress-led Government had not taken steps to modernise and strengthen the armed forces and said “it is very regrettable”.
Stating that allocation for defence sector in the interim budget was the lowest since 1952, she said even out of this, 92 per cent would go for procurments made already. The actual allocation for modernisation and future procurement of weaponry was only eight per cent.
“Rescinding defence procurement agreements alone is not sufficient to end graft in defence buying. Stern measures are needed to recompensate the losses and end corruption,” she said.
Accusing the Congress government of failure to fulfill the requirements of defence personnel, she promised the next regime would take all steps to make the country’s armed forces a model for other nations.
She gave a call to the electorate to “save India” by voting for the AIADMK to “punish the graft-tainted Congress”, put the nation “on par with superpowers” in defence preparedness and to control petrol pricing that affected the common man.
Listing out various pro-people measurers being implemented by her government, she highlighted the salient features of AIADMK manifesto including the promise to raise the Income Tax exemption limit to Rs 5 lakh.