Jayalalithaa defends crackdown on land grabbing

Tiruchirapalli: Hitting the campaign trail for the October 13 Tiruchirapalli West assembly by election, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Sunday defended her government's crackdown on land grabbing, saying DMK had a "tradition" of encroaching lands.

"All the wrongdoers are facing punishment and the state is on its way to prosperity," she said in an apparent reference to the arrests of several former DMK ministers and leaders.

Canvassing for her party candidate here, she said her government had received 17,431 complaints, registered 718 cases and arrested 755 persons on charges of land grabbing.

Lands worth Rs 624.66 crore have been retrieved and restored to their rightful owners, she said.

She alleged that KN Nehru, the DMK contestant for the bypoll and now in prison after his arrest on charges of land grabbing, was only "following the footsteps of his leader M Karunanidhi, who was adept in land grabbing."

She charged the DMK with grabbing the lands of one Thendanoorpettai Zameen under the ambit of Land Ceiling Act in 1972 to build Anna Arivalayam, the party's headquarters in a prime spot in Chennai.

"KN Nehru is only following the tradition and had grabbed lease lands belonging to Wakf Board, to construct his party's district office here," she said.

She also said her government was taking measures to tackle the power cut problem and by next year the state would be free of power shutdown.

In the first acid test to the AIADMK after its landslide victory in April 13 assembly election, the party's nominee M Paranjothi is pitted against Nehru in the by poll,necessitated by the death of Mariam Pitchai.

Nehru had lost to Pitchai in the assembly polls.

Jayalalithaa also launched her campaign for October 17 and 19 local body polls, asking the electorate to vote for the party candidates.