Chennai : Unwilling to buy peace with her once good friend turned political competitor, Narendra Modi, AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa on Thursday trained her guns on the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate’s claim of having revolutionized his home State of Gujarat with a vibrant development model.
Debunking the Gujarat model as something of a publicity overdrive, Jayalalithaa, while addressing election rallies in the western district of Krishnagiri – from where Modi had launched his last leg of campaign a day ago — said Tamil Nadu ranked much better on the Human Development Index than the north Indian State.
“We are concentrating on the development of our State through various schemes without advertising them,” she declared.
While Modi has been criticising the two Dravidian parties of doing precious little for the development of Tamil Nadu, on Wednesday he had told an interviewer on television that Jayalalithaa continued to be his good friend and he had excellent relationship with her at a personal level.
However, this clearly did not cut ice with Jayalalithaa who was upset that Modi was seeking a wider canvass for himself in her State. Reeling of statistics, she said Gujarat had 16.6% population living below poverty line as opposed to Tamil Nadu’s 11.3%. Unlike Gujarat, where only 10% graduates were employed in the manufacturing sector, in Tamil Nadu the figure was higher with 14.3% graduates finding placements in the manufacturing industry.
Even in infant mortality rate, Gujarat fared worse than Tamil Nadu with 38 out of every 1,000 newborns dying within a year, as against 21 children in her state, Jayalalithaa charged. The same was the case with maternal mortality rate.
“It was no different when it came to foreign investments: Gujarat had attracted only Rs 2,676 crore during 2012-13, whereas Tamil Nadu had attracted an investment of Rs 15,232 crore during the same period,” she thundered as the crowd applauded. “Tamil Nadu has 39,996 industries, as against only 22,220 industries in Gujarat which is ruled by Modi,” she said.
Meanwhile, campaigning in southern Tamil Nadu, Modi attacked Jayalalithaa and ridiculed the poor power supply situation.
“If any child aged 10 or 12 years hailing from Gujarat visited Tamil Nadu he will be taken aback by the power cuts and keep wondering about it. In Gujarat we don’t have load shedding at all,” he said.