“The poll will be a precursor to regime change in the 2016 Assembly elections”

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) Youth Wing leader, M.K. Stalin, asserted on Thursday that his party was better placed than its traditional rival, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), in the coming Lok Sabha elections, even as he rejected impressions that the absence of a national party in the DMK-led alliance was a disadvantage for the DMK.

“The DMK’s core base is intact,” Mr. Stalin said in an exclusive interview to TheHindu here, just before leaving for Kanyakumari, where he would kick-start his party’s Lok Sabha poll campaign on Thursday.

Elaborating, Mr. Stalin said the DMK had been a net gainer in terms of alliance partners for the polls.

The party had roped in a couple of new allies like the Dalit outfit, Puthiya Tamizhagam, and a Muslim party in Manithaneya Makkal Katchi, both of which were earlier part of the AIADMK-led front.

Further, the AIADMK itself had lost two of its key allies — the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) — he pointed out, to emphasise that the ruling party “had been weakened.”

On dissensions within the party over candidate selection for the Lok Sabha polls, Mr. Stalin said, “We went through an elaborate interview process to select candidates from over 900 aspirants over nine days and hence we cannot satisfy every one.”

In a big party like the DMK, such things were bound to happen, he said.

To a related query on the alliance issue, Mr. Stalin said, “In the intra-party discussions, contrary to our usual approach of deliberating on bringing in new allies, this time our cadres were more focussed on whom we should not have.”

Explaining why the DMK chose not to have any truck with either the BJP or the Congress in the coming elections, he said while the former was for communal reasons, the Congress did nothing to alleviate the sufferings of Sri Lankan Tamils and Tamil Nadu fishermen.

The DMK also resented India’s participation in the Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting in Colombo last year, disregarding its appeal to the Central government to boycott the meeting.

On Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s prime ministerial ambitions as projected by the AIADMK in the campaign, Mr. Stalin said that of late she herself was soft-pedalling that aspect. “People of Tamil Nadu know the instability caused by her party at the Centre in the past.”

“This poll will be a precursor to a regime change in Tamil Nadu in the 2016 Assembly elections,” he added.

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