Kancheepuram, March 3: Jayalalithaa today looked northwards as she sounded the ballot bugle, accusing the UPA of repeatedly betraying Tamil Nadu’s interests and urging the people to vote out the Congress-led regime.
“The present election is not merely about regime change. It is about changing India’s economic growth positively. It is about defending India from foreign threats,” she claimed, abiding by the advice of astrologers and Vaastu experts that salvation for her lay in the north.
Only yesterday, AIADMK managers had to hurriedly rig up a north-facing dais on Kamaraj Avenue, after it was discovered that the Gandhi Road podium in Kancheepuram faced west.
Speaking at the temple town 90km from Chennai, Jayalalithaa alleged that the UPA had in the last decade badly neglected the modernisation of the military and compromised India’s defence preparedness.
She claimed the present mood in the country was similar to that which prevailed just before India won independence 66 years ago.
“People then wanted to throw out the British who had looted India. Now, people want to boot out the Congress-led central government that has wrecked the country by its corrupt and inept rule.”
Jayalalithaa told the voters that replacing the anti-people government with a government that truly represented the people was possible only if the AIADMK was part of the new dispensation at the Centre.
“Only then the aspirations and demands of Tamil Nadu can be met. For that, you should vote for candidates of the AIADMK and its allies,” she said.
While she trained guns mostly on the Congress and in passing at the DMK, there was no mention of the BJP in her prepared speech of 45 minutes.
She listed 10 instances where the Centre’s action had gone against the interests and sentiments of the people. “It lowered Tamil Nadu’s quota in the allocation of kerosene and refused to give more power for the state from the central pool. Even in providing the digital addressing system for distribution of cable TV, it refused to heed Tamil Nadu’s request.”
Jayalalithaa accused the UPA of supporting Sri Lanka and ignoring resolutions passed by the Tamil Nadu government on issues concerning Lankan Tamils.
“It has also failed frequently to stop the arrests of Tamil fishermen from India by the Lankan navy. And when I challenged the ceding of Kachatheevu, the UPA government opposed it in the Supreme Court,” she alleged.
The crowd cheered when she took the dais but listened to her speech in silence. Only when she asked in a high pitch whether they would “teach the Congress and the DMK that had supported it a fitting lesson” did the crowd shout back “we will”.