CHENNAI: The Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) would like to float a front comprising parties other than the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) to face the next Assembly elections, according to its founder S. Ramadoss.
Reiterating his party’s support to the DMK Government till the end of the current term, Dr. Ramadoss, in an interaction with journalists at The Hindu on Tuesday said, “We are now part of the Congress-led alliance at the Centre. We will remain in the alliance for the next Lok Sabha elections as we want to fight the elections along with other secular forces. After that, we will go it alone and form a front and contest the Assembly elections.”
On the issue of his party alternating between the DMK and the AIADMK, Dr. Ramadoss pointed out that after the 1967 Assembly elections, parties including the Congress and the Left kept on changing their alliance for successive elections. It would not be fair to blame only the PMK.
On the perception that his party was opposed to projects such as the satellite township and expansion of the Chennai airport, Dr. Ramadoss said in the case of satellite township project [about a year ago], Dayanidhi Maran, who was then Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology, and Parithi Ilamvazhuthi, State Minister for Urban Development, met him at his office in Chennai and made a presentation, which envisaged dislocation of 5,000 families.
He conveyed his reservations to them.
The following day, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi declared that the project would be taken up.
After he (Dr. Ramadoss) met the people who were likely to be affected, the Chief Minister announced in the Assembly that the project would not be pursued. No development project should be taken up if they compromised the interests of people, he emphasised.
Barring a few instances, the State Government did not consult allies before taking up any project. “It is a minority Government. There is neither a common minimum programme nor any consultative mechanism in place,” he said.
Asked about his stand on land acquisition, Dr. Ramadoss said his party had no objection if people willingly gave their lands for any project.
Farm lands should not be acquired as there were enough wasteland in the State that could be used for setting up projects such as special economic zones.
An attractive compensation package should be provided. Higher compensation, provision of jobs and imparting skills to project-affected people should form part of the package.
On his party’s opposition to large players’ entry in retail trade, he said the rationale behind the stand was that the livelihood of small traders should not be jeopardised. The large players could set up either medium or large scale enterprises.
On the Ramar Sethu controversy, he said his party was keen that the Sethusamudram project should be implemented. It was a viable project, as had been found by several committees including those formed before and after Independence. His party was not insistent on any particular alignment and it was for respecting religious sentiments of people.
Dr. Ramadoss reiterated his party’s advocacy of total prohibition in the State and said it was sad to note that higher revenue was netted from those districts which were known to be backward, socially, economically and educationally.