AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa has lent her support to social activist Anna Hazare’s fight against corruption, while her arch-rival and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, whose party, the DMK, is facing allegations of nepotism and irregularities, is confident of serving another five-year term.
The Congress, which is backing the DMK, seems to be playing an extremely low-key role given that its manifesto was released on Saturday, barely two days before campaigning ended for the April 13 assembly polls.
Karunanidhi in his public utterances has been accusing the Election Commission of adopting a confrontationist attitude and tried to play down the differences between his two sons — MK Stalin and MK Alagiri.
He has been citing Bihar as an example to drive home the point that the achievements of his government (like those of the Nitish Kumar regime) will see his party through.
Jayalalithaa on the other hand has been at pains to explain that she is not corrupt and charges were foisted on her. She has been exonerated in most cases and the present government has failed to prove any wrongdoing on her part.
While supporting the Lokpal Bill, she continues to underline the need for a strong central government with a strong leader. Though she has not forcefully criticised either Congress president Sonia Gandhi or general secretary Rahul Gandhi, her attacks on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whom she often describes as “weak and ineffective” have not stopped.
It was therefore not surprising when the PM on Saturday had a dig at her at an election meeting in Coimbatore and asked voters not to be misled by “false promises”. He praised Karunanidhi profusely at the meet despite the fact that the CM skipped the event “due to preoccupation”.
Meanwhile, Jayalalithaa is in a combative mood and has already wished her opponents bad luck. She has claimed that her coalition will get 218 out of the 234 seats.
With final campaign moves being played out, Karunanidhi is aware that the only way for him to return to power is through a coalition government because his party is contesting only 119 seats.