Jayalalithaa, Modi spar in Tamil Nadu

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On a day the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, began his party’s campaign in Chennai for the Lok Sabha polls, the AIADMK general secretary, Jayalalithaa, in her first explicit attack on the saffron party, lashed out at it for repeatedly betraying Tamil Nadu on the Cauvery waters issue.

Barely an hour before Mr. Modi arrived in Chennai on Sunday, Ms. Jayalalithaa, in an election rally in Karur, targeted both the BJP and the Congress on this issue, but one that is set to embarrass the BJP more as several opposition parties had been insinuating that the AIADMK and the BJP were likely to be post-poll allies.

In an instant reaction as it were, Mr. Modi was equally unsparing at his Chennai rally, attacking both the main Dravidian parties, the AIADMK and the DMK. “They have been ruling the State for decades, leaving the people with little choice,” he said.

Observing that people of Tamil Nadu were “caught between” the DMK and the AIADMK, Mr. Modi said there “is no other way for the people.” The political culture of the two parties was such that “the DMK wastes time to finish off the AIADMK when it is in power, and the AIADMK when it comes to power wants to teach the DMK lessons,” Mr. Modi said, adding people’s larger welfare was forgotten in the process. For the first time, a “formidable third front” had been formed. The ‘old tricks’ of those two parties would not work hereafter, Mr. Modi added.

Breaking her silence over the BJP, Ms. Jayalalithaa said in Karur that the BJP could never hope to win a single seat in the Karnataka Assembly election if it ever supported releasing Tamil Nadu’s due share of Cauvery water. In Karnataka, the Congress and the BJP had equal chances of coming to power and alternate in the chair, but both parties stood no chance to govern Tamil Nadu, she said.

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