Oust Congress to make India strong: Jayalalithaa
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Monday launched the AIADMK's Lok Sabha election campaign here by urging voters to oust the "corrupt" Congress to make India "strong".
The actress-turned-politician, seen by her supporters as a prime ministerial aspirant, faulted the Congress-led central government for what she said were faulty economic, foreign and defence procurement policies.
Addressing a huge election rally in this temple town near Chennai, she said the economic policies had forced food prices to shoot up.
Jayalalithaa said the coming election would be a turning point for India -- and to protect the country from threats from neighbouring countries.
She said the allocation for the military in the recent vote-on-account was very low and there were inordinate delays in finalising military deals.
Defence purchases should be done on government-to-government basis rather than from foreign companies to avoid corruption, the chief minister said.
If the AIADMK were to be part of a new government, she pledged to dramatically strengthen the Indian defence forces.
In 1947, Indians wanted to throw out the British. Now they want to oust the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA), she said.
"In the last 10 years, the country was plundered by the Congress-led government.
"It is not enough to have a people's government at the centre. It should be a government of Tamil Nadu, a government in which the AIADMK is a part. Only then the rights of Tamils would be established."
She reminded the crowds about the freebies given by her government after coming to power in May 2011.
Referring to the frequent attacks on Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy, Jayalalithaa said: "If this has to stop, there should be a change at the centre."
She said the Indian fishermen were not able to carry out their activities fearlessly as they are attacked by the Sri Lankan Navy.
Jayalalithaa charged the centre with betraying Tamil Nadu's interests on the Cauvery river water row with Karnataka and accused it of failing to protect the state's fishermen from the Sri Lankan Navy.
She also took on the Congress for supporting the ruling regime in Sri Lanka despite widespread allegations of war crimes allegedly committed in the conflict against the Tamil Tigers.
She came out strongly against foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail trade, continued inflationary pressure, devaluation of the rupee and hikes in fertiliser prices.
The AIADMK leader added that the price of oil should be determined based on the refining cost, not international prices.
Referring to foreign investment made through Mauritius, Jayalalithaa said the central government had postponed the implementation of tax avoidance measures to 2015 owing to foreign pressures.
Jayalalitha made no mention about the Bharatiya Janata Party or its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in her speech -- or her own prime ministerial ambitions.
She asked people to "teach a lesson" to the Congress and the DMK in the Lok Sabha polls.
Will you do it, she asked? Yes, the crowds roared.
(Posted on 03-03-2014)