Tiruchirapalli (Tamil Nadu):
All Indian Anna Dramuk Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) supremo Jayalalithaa held a mega protest rally in Tamil Nadu's Tiruchirapalli on Saturday which drew an estimated five lakh people.
During her rally in the Cauvery delta districts, the AIADMK chief came down heavily on Chief Minister M Karunanidhi for betraying the interests of the delta farmers in the Cauvery issue.
Amma's series of shows of strength is seen as an attempt to win new allies ahead of the 2011 Assembly poll.
Charging Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi with betraying the interests of farmers and fishermen, Jayalalithaa asked people to overthrow the 'anti-people' government in next year's Assembly elections.
Virtually launching her poll campaign, she said Karunanidhi had failed to pressurise the Centre to gazette the Cauvery Tribunal's final award for its implementation.
"Right from 1970, Karunanidhi had betrayed the interests of Delta farmers by his failures on the Cauvery issue. This has led to reduction in the area of cultivation, leading to decrease in the agricultural production," she said.
The ceding of Katchatheevu islet in the Palk Strait to Sri Lanka in 1974 had led to the recurring killing of fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy, she claimed.
Jayalalithaa also accused Karunanidhi of not demanding rollback of increase in prices of petroleum products as it might prompt Congress to withdraw support to his "minority government" leading to its collapse.
Justifying her repeatedly calling the DMK government a minority one, she said DMK did not have majority in the 234-member Assembly and survived on Congress support.
Jayalalithaa was particularly soft on the Congress. Interestingly, it was a UPA ally, Railway Minister Mamata Bannerjee, who gave a railway ground for her rally after the local administration denied a few venues.
Seeking to create a wedge between DMK and Congress, Jayalalithaa said Karunanidhi, whose party was a constituent of the ruling UPA at the Centre, did not have 'broadmind' to include the Congress in his ministry.
Describing Karunanidhi as "anti-Dalit", Jayalalithaa claimed that Union Minister and his elder son M K Alagiri was not named his political heir only because he married a Dalit.
A Dalit IAS officer Uma Shankar was recently suspended from service on "flimsy grounds", she alleged.
Law and order in the state has deteriorated and those who raised their voice against the DMK government were being subjected to oppression and repression, she charged.
She ridiculed the DMK's youth wing organising an agitation against her for seeking repeated adjournments in the disproportionate assets case, pending in a Bangalore court.
It was unheard of for a ruling party to organise agitation against an Opposition leader, she said calling it a 'conspiracy' to get her convicted and disqualified from contesting the Assembly polls.
The meeting was held at Railway grounds at Golden Rock.
Reports suggested that Jayalalithaa had sent a special emissary to meet Railway Minister Mamata Bannerjee to get special permission for holding the meeting, creating ripples in the DMK.