Lok Sabha polls | People of Tamil Nadu are happy with DMK government: Vaiko

Frequent visits of PM Modi will have no bearing on the outcome of the election in Tamil Nadu, says MDMK general secretary Vaiko

Updated - April 10, 2024 04:46 pm IST

Published - April 09, 2024 10:57 pm IST - TIRUCHI

Vaiko. File

Vaiko. File | Photo Credit: M. Moorthy

MDMK general secretary Vaiko, who is on a State-wide tour to seek votes for the INDIA bloc candidates, shares his apprehension that the BJP will change the Constitution if it retains power at the Centre. In an interview with The Hindu on Tuesday, he says the frequent visits of Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have no bearing on the outcome of the election in the State, and there was no scope for the BJP’s victory. Excerpts from the interview:

INDIA bloc is up against the ruling BJP at the Centre and the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu. You have taken up a State-wide tour to canvass for your allies. What are your predictions at the national and the State levels?

Forty seats out of forty in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry is our aim. Possibilities are there for the success in all constituencies. The BJP cannot win more seats in Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Its strength mainly lies in the ‘cow belt’-Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. In the northeastern States, things may change. The BJP captured power through “crooked” means. But the results of this election won’t be like that.

It seems the BJP tasting a stupendous victory by beating the anti-incumbency factors in Madhya Pradesh has rejuvenated its cadre...

Shivaraj Singh Chauhan, who was responsible for the BJP’s victory in MP has been sidelined. It cannot win all seats. The Congress is set to win more seats in MP. In UP and Bihar, the BJP cannot repeat its earlier performance. It cannot get a sweep in the cow belt this time. It is unfortunate that the Congress, the TMC and the CPI(M) are fighting against each other.

But BJP leaders are confident that the people will reward Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his good work...

Religion plays a major role. After the experience of Mr. Modi, minorities are afraid that anything could happen. “Majorities” too will not vote this time. They are fed up with the price rise, high cost of fuel and others. The style of functioning of him is not democratic. He never attends the Parliament, but addresses in street corner meeting. He does not speak on Important Bills Former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru did not miss a single day in the Parliament. Indira Gandhi was particular about that and so was V.P. Singh. Manmohan Singh was regular. But Mr. Modi, who is a good friend of mine, never cares about the Parliament. He is not a democrat. The fascist tendencies are all visible in in his approach and the speeches. He comes to Tamil Nadu and says he will erase the Dravidian movement, which was nothing but an arrogant speech and the speech of a fascist.

How do you rate the work and strategies of the Congress in the run up to the elections?

The Congress is unified. It was not the case about six months ago. it has patched up among themselves. Congress will fare better this time. It is very dangerous to India If the BJP comes back to power again with a brutal majority, It will, first of all, scrap many sections of the Constitution. He is trying to take the country towards the presidential form of government like the United States of Americal and Russia. Power has entered his head. Otherwise, he cannot say that he will erase the Dravidian movement in Tamil Nadu. It is not possible.

Almost all constituents of the DMK led alliance in 2019 elections are with INDIA bloc now. The anti Modi sentiment and the movement against NEET had caused your alliance to win 39 out of 40 seats in the State and the Puduchery last time. But, there seems to be anti incumbency sentiment against the DMK rule in the State. Do you think your alliance will repeat the same performance this elections?

We have a strong alliance. We are united and enjoy good harmony among ourselves. I won’t be surprised if we win all 40 seats.

The opposition parties accuse Chief Minister M.K. Stalin of being an inefficient administrator. They say that the people are upset with the way the DMK is running the government...

The DMK government is popular among the people. They are happy. I could see happiness on the faces of the voters wherever I visit. Mr. Stalin has done many good things. The morning breakfast scheme is a novel idea.

The opposition parties claim that Mr. Stalin is losing control over the administration. He fails to execute the duties and responsibilities as a Chief Minister. Your view...

I don’t think he is avoiding programmes. He is touring everyday. He has attended more number of programmes than any other CMs. He is a matured leader. He has learnt many things from his father M. Karunanidhi.

The AIADMK has accused the DMK leadership of having a truck with a drug mafia. But, no top leader of the DMK has reacted to the charges so far. Do you think that the DMK leadership should answer to the charges? And some DMK Ministers are facing serious corruption charges...

Drugs are there in whichever government was in power. DMK was not responsible for that. It is acting tough against the drug menace It wont affect the winning charges of the INDIA bloc. The charges against the Ministers are motivated. The BJP is using Income Tax Department, Enforcement Directorate and the CBI as weapons to tarnish them.

It has turned out to be a litmus test for the AIADMK, one of top two Dravidian parties, as it faces the elections almost on its own strength. Would you foresee no future for the AIADMK?

The AIADMK has weakened because of the infighting. It will divide votes. The AIADMK cannot win. But the AIADMK cadres are sticking to it. It may get more votes than its dissidents.

Mr. Modi is desperate to make an impact in TN also. Whether the BJP could make a foothold in the State?

He visits TN very often to woo the people. Where was he when the State was hit with floods?. The Centre has not so far sanctioned funds to rehabilitate the flood affected areas. The people are clever.

Whether there is a good understanding with the DMK and the MDMK in Tiruchi constituency, where Mr. Durai Vaiko is seeking election. The DMK came out in an open meeting, asking Mr. Durai Vaiko to contest on its Rising Sun symbol.

Only one person raised the question in that meeting. It was not supported by others. We explained to the DMK why he wanted to contest in an own symbol. If you contest in the symbol of the DMK, you have to resign from the MDMK and joined the DMK. It cannot be done. When we explained, they accepted. The people have also accepted. He is touring. Symbol has reached to the voters.

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