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 April 24 Lok Sabha polls.
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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.