Jayalalitha came to this holy town at the heart of Hindi literature and culture on Monday and did the unthinkable — she gave a speech in fluent Hindi.
The AIADMK chief — known to have command over a number of languages, both Indian and foreign — spoke in Hindi with the ease of a North Indian. “In my 25 years in politics, this is the first time I am giving a speech in Allahabad; the first time I am giving a speech in Hindi,” she said to loud cheers. She requested the audience to forgive any mistake in diction and promised more speeches in Hindi.
Sharing the stage with her were three other former chief ministers, the Telugu Desam Party’s Chandrababu Naidu, Samajwadi Party’s S. Bangarappa and Indian National Lok Dal’s Om Prakash Chautala. Asom Gana Parishad president and opposition leader Vrindavan Goswami was also present. The coming together of these diverse leaders was not only a show of solidarity for the ruling party but signaled the sowing of the seeds of a third front.
Jayalalitha’s scathing attack on the Congress and support for Mulayam Singh Yadav set the tone of the meeting, attended by 5,000 people. She said the “third front is not only a necessity but it can also be formed”.
Jayalalitha attacked the Congress government in Assam for not being able to protect workers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Sparing neither Sonia Gandhi nor Rahul Gandhi, she said the latter was ignorant about Indian traditions and ethos, which was why he had attacked the late P.V. Narasimha Rao. Countering Sonia’s accusations that the state government had failed to utilise central funds, she said the Centre was not doing UP any favours, just fulfilling its duty.
Turning poetic, Jayalalithaa had the crowd clapping wildly as she ended her speech with “Ek hi Mulayam is watan me, ek hi chanda is gagan me (there is only one Mulayam in this world, one moon in the sky).”
Naidu, who also spoke in Hindi, accused the Congress of siding with the rich and forgetting the poor. He told mediapersons the country needed alternative economic policies and the third front was working on it. “We met today and will meet again after the election to form the modalities of the third front. The Left too agrees CMP commitments have not been kept. We may be fighting separately now but after the election, we will decide a course for the future,” he said.
Mulayam’s speech comprised a list of sops for farmers, students, the girl child, the unemployed and those arrested during the 1975-77 emergency. He also reminded the people that the Congress was losing in the states and had lost the local body elections in Mumbai and New Delhi.
Natwar Singh, Obaidullah Azmi, Jaya Bachchan, Jaya Prada and Amar Singh were also present at the meeting.
Allahabad goes to polls on May 3.