Chennai: The intense battle to form the next government in Tamil Nadu entered its final phase on Wednesday with voting for the 234-member Assembly starting on a brisk note. Even as the Tami Nadu electorate votes the war-of-words between the two main alliances vying for power has intensified.
The J Jayalalithaa-led All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK)-Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK)-Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and Communist Party of India (CPI) is giving a tough fight to the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)-Congress-Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK)-Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi (VCK) combine.
Soon after casting her vote on Wednesday Jayalalithaa appealed to the voters to defeat the money power of the ruling alliance. She claimed that the Tamil Nadu government had refused to pay the daily allowance to security personnel on election duty and alleged that the ruling DMK might create violence in the event of their absence.
"Under instructions from the Chief Minister (M Karunanidhi), the Chief Secretary has said that the security personnel are just idling away their time, so it is a waste to pay them Rs 300 each. So the government cannot afford to pay them. This has enraged the security personel so they have threatened to go on strike. There will be no one to maintain security around polling booths and that will give room for DMK to send rowdies to stage incidents of violence, scare away genuine voters and they will use this time to cast bogus votes," Jayalalithaa alleged.
"It's not there was no corruption before. It's there in every country of the world. But corruption of this scale is something unprecedented, which we have not witnessed until the DMK government came to power. Although vast sums of money are being thrown around in this election, my information is that Rs 5000 crore is being spent by DMK in this election. It will not have any impact on the people. People are determined to vote out the DMK government and bring in AIADMK government," she added.
However, Karunanidhi brushed Jayalalithaa's allegation aside, saying he was confident of a majority.
"We will get working majority this time. Jaya's campaigning was never based on her manifesto. People should understand this. She throughout her campaign was attacking my family. The Election Commission was non-partisan. It was Jaya who said that Election Commission officials are being threatened," said Karunanidhi.
Deputy Chief Minister MK Stalin, too, slammed Jayalalithaa.
"Our leader Karunanidhi has already made our stand clear on the working of Election Commission in Tamil Nadu. We are unhappy with the developments that have happened in the past two days. On Jayalalitha's accusations I want to say she more a leader of statements than a political leader and I am sure the DMK-led alliance will win at least 220 seats this time," said Stalin.
Election Commission, too, claimed that while all the political parties were involved in using money-power to win over the voters, it was the DMK that was the worst offender.