On her last day of campaign for the 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu, AIADMK general secretary and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa launched a direct attack on her Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi, claiming she was a better administrator than the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.
Interestingly, the statistics Jaya has been citing had some additions on Monday — a comparison between the two states on the number of communal riots and crimes against women. “The administrator who is performing exceptionally well in all fields is not Modi of Gujarat, but this lady of Tamil Nadu,” said Jayalalithaa in South Chennai seat, where the candidature of a senior BJP leader is likely to split her Brahmin votebank.
Jaya read out figures to substantiate her claim that Tamil Nadu has outperformed Gujarat in GDP growth, FDI inflow, poverty, maternal and infant mortality, foodgrain production among other indices — all of which have been her campaign points. On Monday, however, she offered some new statistics.
“Between 2001 and 2012, crimes against women increased by 65 per cent in Gujarat whereas in the case of Tamil Nadu, it has come down by 29 per cent,” said Jaya. “Similarly, there were 479 incidents of caste and communal riots between 2005 and 2013 in Gujarat, while in Tamil Nadu, it is only 237,” said Jaya, repeating her charge that the Gujarat model was a hype while the Tamil Nadu model was about actual, inclusive growth. Whereas the statistics on crimes against women were from 2001, those relating to riots were from 2005 thereby excluding the Gujarat riots.
Jayalalithaa and Modi have repeatedly professed their excellent personal relationship. However, this did not translate into a pre-poll alliance between their parties. Initially, the two parties refrained from attacking each other, and even when they began the criticisms, it was on the performance of the governments not the two leaders.
Now that Jaya has crossed that barrier, there could be a counterattack from Modi on the corruption charges against her that has been one of the focal points of DMK campaign.
Tuesday is the last day for campaign before the State goes for polling on April 24.