Former Union Minister Anbumani Ramadoss, seen as the prime mover behind the party’s decision to align with the BJP in Tamil Nadu, is a happy man today.
He successfully convinced his father, S. Ramadoss, on seat allotment to the PMK and achieved the near-impossible task of bringing PMK and DMDK together.
Excerpts from an exclusive interview to Sruthisagar Yamunan:
Your father (Dr. Ramadoss) is said to be unhappy with seats allotted to the PMK in the BJP-led front. Will he campaign for the alliance?
These are issues created by the State intelligence services through the media to scuttle the formation of an alternative front. My father had a major bypass surgery recently. He has taken the advice of the doctors on travel.
He will certainly campaign for the alliance in the coming days.
The DMDK and the PMK have been traditional rivals. Can the parties co-exist?
It is true we had differences in the past. But we have come together on a common platform of taking on the AIADMK and the DMK. We also want to make Narendra Modi the Prime Minister. As we begin the campaign, all issues will be ironed out. It is a matter of time.
What is the PMK’s stand on Mr. Modi and the Gujarat riots of 2002?
We cannot continue to harp on what happened in the past.
In that case, none can hold hands with the Congress for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. The question now is about providing a stable and strong leadership at the Centre, which we think Mr. Modi can provide.
Your party has strong views on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue. Are there not similarities between Gujarat 2002 and Sri Lanka 2009?
You cannot compare the two. In Sri Lanka, 1.4 lakh people were killed. No enquiry has been initiated. Mr. Modi, on the other hand, has been cleared by courts. We want an independent, international investigation into war crimes in Sri Lanka.
After the Divya-Ilavarasan saga last year, there is strong caste polarisation in Dharmapuri where you are contesting. Will Dalits vote for you?
In my first election meeting here, I have urged people to look at me as a common candidate. But given that the incidents are fresh in their minds, it will take some time.
But I want to ensure that I will reduce the tension between the Vanniyar and Dalit communities. The PMK will not do anything to polarise.
But who is responsible for the polarisation?
That is not the issue now. What we need to look forward to is the development of this backward district, which ranks 28 among 32 in human development indicators. The district though is second in liquor sales.
There is no industrial growth.
I want to improve rail and road connectivity and bring industries to provide jobs. I have an enviable track record as Health Minister when I brought down infant mortality and maternal mortality rates significantly.
If I can do this for the entire country, why not for a district? I want people to vote based on such issues as all communities will benefit.
Will the alternative front you have formed continue till 2016 Assembly polls?
I hope so. For 47 years, the two Dravidian parties have ruined the State. I call this the “alternative front” and not the third front as we want to rid the State of the decades of misrule.