Lok Sabha Election 2019

People of Tamil Nadu are wary of PM-CM nexus: M.K. Stalin

‘DMK not anti-Hindu, favours uplift of economically poor; but opposes political stunts’

Walking across the State, shaking hands with thousands and addressing massive public meetings, DMK president M.K. Stalin is running a punishing campaign. Predicting a sweeping victory for the DMK-Congress led Secular Progressive Alliance, he says the people of Tamil Nadu are wary of a ‘Modi-Edappadi’ nexus.

From your electioneering, what is your reading of the people’s mind?

There is an anti-Modi wave coupled with a strong cyclone against the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu. There is an upsurge among the people who have rallied and united as a force to remove the BJP-led Centre and the AIADMK regime led by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami.

The DMK and its allies have come together based on an ideological understanding, and we stand by the people. The alliance will secure the people’s mandate in all 39 Lok Sabha constituencies and the 22 Assembly constituencies, where byelections are being held.

In the past, the DMK’s manifesto was seen as a hero of the elections. Who is the hero this time?

The DMK has placed a mega manifesto before the people, which promises to abolish NEET, provide loan waivers for farmers and students, and appoint one crore road workers and 50 lakh social workers.

On the day of its release, I said the manifesto will play both the role of a hero and heroine. The inclusion of DMK’s promises in the Congress manifesto has doubled the credibility. The people have understood the uniformity in the thinking process of the DMK and the Congress. If the DMK manifesto is the hero, then the Congress manifesto that promises ₹6,000 a month for the poor is a superhero.

But the AIADMK-BJP alliance appears to be numerically strong.

You are acknowledging that it is only numerically strong. The DMK-led alliance has a solid vote bank and is a combination of political parties with credibility and unanimity in opinion. This alliance has been fighting for the State’s rights for two years. The AIADMK alliance is a mere combination of numbers, driven by selfish agenda. It is an ‘Agmark’ opportunistic alliance. The enemies of yesterday have turned friends. Those who made a beeline for the Raj Bhavan demanding dismissal of the AIADMK government, are hosting a feast for each other.

People have understood the farcical drama of Mr. Palaniswami to continue in power. They are prepared to teach a fitting lesson to them on April 18. It’s an alliance without hope, while the DMK-led alliance has won the people’s confidence.

How do you see the role of T.T.V. Dhinakaran, who defeated the AIADMK in the R.K. Nagar Assembly byelection?

You should pose this to the AIADMK leaders.

But there is an opinion that Mr. Dhinakaran’s party will secure the votes of the minorities.

Mr. Dhinakaran went out of his way to offer support to the BJP in the presidential election. He continues to maintain a secret relationship with the BJP. He criticises the AIADMK and the BJP, but spares Mr. Modi. He is acting as a secret agent of the BJP to fool the minorities. The DMK maintains an umbilical relationship with the minorities championing their cause whether in power or not. Mr. Dhinakaran, who has assumed a fake anti-BJP role, cannot get their votes.

What factors do you think will determine the electoral outcome?

People strongly believe that the “corrupt, minority” AIADMK government is continuing because of Mr. Modi’s blessings. They believe that farmers, traders, workers, government employees, fishermen, students, police, small and medium scale industries and minorities are facing hardships because of this support. They strongly believe that the Mod-Edappadi nexus is responsible for the State losing its rights, destruction of fertile agriculture lands in the name of projects, the Chennai-Salem Expressway, and killing of 13 anti-Sterlite protestors in police firing. The wave against Mr Modi and Mr Palaniswami is dominating the election scene.

The DMK has been accused of promoting dynasties in its choice of candidates.

The DMK is contesting in 20 constituencies. Only three candidates are children of leaders who have been working for the party for decades. We have taken into account their qualifications. Even in the AIADMK, PMK and BJP, children of leaders have been fielded. It is a country-wide phenomenon. Deserving candidates, left out now, would be given an opportunity to contest in Assembly polls.

Wouldn’t the 10% quota for economically weaker sections help the BJP in Tamil Nadu? Your party has gone to the court challenging it.

DMK is not against uplifting the economically weaker sections. But the BJP’s political stunt for election should not negate the principles of reservation and result in benefiting a particular section instead of ameliorating the conditions of really deserving people. The DMK had rolled out several schemes aimed at helping economically weaker sections. After making economically weaker sections suffer in the last five years, the BJP is enacting an election drama. It will not cut ice with the people of Tamil Nadu who do not attach importance to caste and religion.

How do you react to the charge that the DMK is an anti-Hindu party?

About 90% of DMK cadres are Hindus. The party follows Anna’s [Annadorai] principle, that ‘There is one race and one God.’ I have never prevented DMK cadres from visiting temples. I never questioned my wife worshiping in temples in the morning and evening. The DMK is not against any religion and never approved of anyone hurting a particular religion. That is why we have said in our manifesto that we would maintain religious harmony. Since there is a wave in favour of the DMK, its traditional enemies are spreading canards to divert the people’s attention. People will not fall prey to their mischievous campaign.

By contesting in Wayanad, has Rahul Gandhi antagonised the Communists?

You should pose the question to communist leaders in Kerala. There is nothing new in Communists and Congress fighting elections against each other in Kerala.

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Printable version | Jul 10, 2020 12:51:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/lok-sabha-2019/people-of-tamil-nadu-are-wary-of-pm-cm-nexus/article26809943.ece

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