Jayalalithaa, Mamata bat for alternative front
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said on Tuesday that the aim of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam was the formation of a non-Congress, non-BJP government at the Centre through a combination of regional parties.
Echoing the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s views, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee said in Kolkata that a federal front government would be formed after the elections. “The federal front is the future. A federal front government will be formed after the elections,” Ms. Banerjee told news agency PTI in an interview.
Addressing an election rally in Vellore, Ms. Jayalalithaa termed the BJP’s election manifesto promise to provide refuge to persecuted Hindus from other countries as “anti-secular.”
The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister said not just Hindus but Indians of different faiths were living abroad. “Giving protection only to persecuted Hindus from abroad was against the principles of secularism. The AIADMK wants India to be a place of shelter for prosecuted Indians abroad belonging to all religions.”
Meanwhile, in a scathing attack against Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime minister candidate Narendra Modi, AIADMK’s mouthpiece, Dr. Namadhu MGR, dismissed the presence of any wave in Mr. Modi’s favour in Tamil Nadu. It charged the BJP with criticising the AIADMK for publicity’s sake. Comparing performance indicators, the article puts Tamil Nadu ahead of Gujarat in development.
Also, in an indirect reference to Mr. Modi meeting actor Rajinikanth in Chennai on Sunday, the party mouthpiece said the talks were Mr. Modi’s strategy to help ensure that BJP candidates won’t lose their “deposits” in the election.
The AIADMK-backed ‘Jaya TV’ also played a chat-show twice with the superstar talking about his next movie ‘Kochadaiyaan’ on Monday, a day after Modi had called on the actor.
Meanwhile, Ms. Banerjee also dismissed any comparisons with West Bengal and Gujarat as it was a study in contrast between a rich, privileged child and an undernourished, neglected one.
“His [Mr. Modi] becoming a Prime Minister is a fantasy. So, I don’t need to answer this hypothetical question,” Ms. Banerjee said, when asked whether she expected better financial treatment in the event of Mr. Modi becoming the Prime Minister.
“Bengal does not need to go with a begging bowl. We are only asking for what is due to us. The demand for moratorium is not new. Even before 2011 elections the Prime Minister had promised to restructure Bengal’s burden created by three decades of Left rule,” the Trinamool leader said, adding: “I and my finance minister had many meetings, but they did not do anything. They did not keep their promise.”
“Some people are talking about the Gujarat model. I must tell you there cannot be any comparison … Gujarat has been developing even before the current Chief Minister. In fact, the growth rate of Gujarat declined during his tenure,” the West Bengal CM said.
However, Ms. Banerjee said she had a lot of love for the people of Gujarat. “Look at our population density and compare it with Gujarat. They have 19 ports, we have only two. Even then Bengal model is far better,” she said.
Alleging that both the Congress and the BJP appeased religious groups during election time, Ms. Banerjee recalled how a well wisher had once told her that the TMC stood for temple, mosque and church.
“I said no. Trinamool stands for development and dedication to the people. We work for all.”