In a blistering counter attack against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa a day after she questioned his victory in last polls and slammed his economic policies, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Saturday accused her of making 'sweeping charges' ignorant of cases pending against herself.
The senior Congress leader also dismissed the charge that he was shying from contesting the April 24 elections and took a potshot at Jayalalithaa's style of campaigning (hopping by choppers) saying she was not aware of the ground realities.
"It is nothing but ignorance, when Jayalalithaa, who has a long history of dragging the case pending against her, talks about me," he said addressing election meetings in Tirumayyam and others places in support of his son Karthi Chidambaram, fielded in Sivaganga constituency held by him.
Referring to Jayalalithaa's poser that AIADMK would not accept his victory from Sivaganga in 2009 and as to why he did not accept for a recounting in last polls, he said: "This is the time for me to reveal status of my (election) case. The case was filed in 2009.
"The petitioner (losing AIADMK candidate) in the case is the first witness, and he should have been examined as the first witness on January 31, 2013. However, he did not turn up during trial examination, leading to ten adjournments."
He did not turn up for cross examination and the case had to be adjourned eight times. "The Intelligence Wing of the state government probably did not bring this to Jayalalithaa's notice," Chidambaram said seeking to turn the tables.
"The chief minister is making such sweeping charges forgetting cases pending against herself," he said recalling the TANSI case and the one related to filing of nominations from four constituencies. Accusing Jayalalitha of "dragging" her disproportionate wealth case in a Bangalore court for 17 years on various grounds, he said even the special public prosecutor had been fined (for delaying the trial).
Chidambaram, however, requested the voters to forgive Jayalalithaa for her sweeping charges against him.
"I know Jayalalithaa knows what is going on the in the state. But her speech writer is not aware. She always flies or hops. And for a person who is taking the air route… there is no chance to know what is happening in the ground," he said.
Taking a swipe the AIADMK supremo for using helicopters to move around, he said she could be the one chief Minister "whose feet has not touched the Tamil Nadu soil. Compare her to late Kamaraj, who visited every nook and corner by foot".
Rejecting BJP's charge that he was running away from contest out of fear of defeat, Chidamabram said "I have dared to give the first election field to my son. Don't believe what mad people say. We have chosen a clear path. We should prove that by winning in this election," he said.
Advising his partymen not to be scared of the five-cornered contest in Sivaganga, he said whenever Congress had been defeated, people realised its worthiness after five years, and had re-elected it.
On Jayalalithaa's allegation that he had left the economy in a shambles, the finance minister claimed that during the past ten years of Congress regime the country witnessed "unprecedented development".
The government was able to write off farm loans to the tune of Rs.68,000 crore. Economic growth touched, on an average, 8.5 per cent. Centre allocated Rs.13,000 crore for noon meal schemes throughout the country, benefitting 13 crore children, he said.
Turning to Sivaganga constituency, he said 74,000 people were given old age and widow pension and 24,900 people got Indira Group House and 19,000 students got education loan. BHEL unit had come to the constituency.
"The chief minister is talking without knowing what is happening in her own state," he added.