Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections | Decisions on Vanniyar quota, Devendrakula Vellalars will not affect others: Edappadi Palaniswami

Chief Minister and AIADMK Co-coordinator Edappadi K. Palaniswami campaigning for Omalur assembly constituency at Salem district in Tamil Nadu on Saturday, 03 April 2021.   | Photo Credit: LAKSHMI NARAYANAN E

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK co-coordinator Edappadi K. Palaniswami has said the move to provide 10.5% internal reservation to Vanniyars within the 20% quota for Most Backward Classes and Denotified Communities and the generic title of Devendrakula Vellalars to seven castes among Scheduled Castes “will not affect others in any manner”.

In an email response sent on Saturday to The Hindu's questionnaire, Mr. Palaniswami said the decisions “are only to give equitable benefit to these social groups [Vanniyars and the seven SC castes].” He termed as "false campaign" the contention that these decisions had alienated the AIADMK from other communities.

Also read | 10.5% quota for Vanniyars a provisional arrangement, says Panneerselvam

On February 26, a Bill on the internal quota was adopted by the Assembly and it later received assent of Governor Banwarilal Purohit. A few weeks later, both Houses of Parliament adopted a Bill that sought to put the seven castes under the nomenclature of Devendrakula Vellalars. The Bill followed the State government’s acceptance of recommendation by an official committee.

Expressing confidence about the victory of the AIADMK-led front in the Assembly election, Mr. Palaniswami, referring to the findings of several surveys that predicted the victory of the DMK-led coalition, said generally, opinion polls were “not fool proof.” Factors such as time, methodology and bias “distort results.” Observing that he did not attach “much credence” to the opinion polls, he said: “We, as soldiers, work with faith and sincerity, to the end of the [electoral] battle.”

Pointing out that he had been getting “overwhelming support from people,” the Chief Minister, who is contesting from Edappadi in Salem district for the sixth time, said they were “appreciative of [the] government's efforts and performance. This government has effectively handled many crisis [situations] and pushed the development [process] forward. They [the people] have full trust on me and the Government.”

Also read | Vanniyar reservations will be increased after caste census, says Ramadoss

About the exit of Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), Puthiya Tamilagam and the All India Samuthuva Makkal Katchi from the AIADMK-led alliance despite his earlier statement to the contrary, Mr. Palaniswami said although it was his “desire” that all the parties should fight the poll together, “every one of us should understand [that] the relative strength goes on changing in a dynamic political environment. But, we have no regrets. We still respect them and their decision.”

On the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK)-DMDK alliance and the presence of the Makkal Needhi Maiam-led front affecting the prospects of his party, he replied in the negative and called them “opportunistic formations.”

Manifestos

Regarding his party having identical electoral promises assurances [such as increase in the days of work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, restoration of monthly billing cycle for domestic category of electricity consumers and the increase in the period of duration of maternity leave] as the DMK’s, Mr Palaniswami acknowledged that “some amount of overlap is inevitable.” It was “unrealistic” to expect that the manifestos of various parties should be totally different from one another. This showed that “these issues are perceived by all of us as important.”

Also read | 10.5% quota for Vanniyars permanent: Tamil Nadu Law Minister

Describing the AIADMK as a “democratic and cohesive party,” the AIADMK leader, in response to a query on reports of lack of cohesion within the party and lack of cooperation between his party and the allies, said his party and the partners were all “working as a team.” He added that “there may be some difference in our perception and strategies. That is the reason why they are in different parties.”

On measures to be adopted to contain the current round of spread of COVID-19, the Chief Minister said the government was “working hard” to enforce discipline in wearing face masks and the use of sanitisers. “Vaccination drive is going on in full swing. I am sure that the spread will be contained. But people should also co-operate.”

The Chief Minister chose not to answer questions on AIADMK’s former interim general secretary V.K. Sasikala’s appeal on preventing DMK from capturing power, AIADMK’s changed stand on Citizenship Amendment Act and his critics citing the prevalence of a strong anti-incumbency factor due to hike in prices of essential commodities such as petrol, diesel and cooking gas cylinders.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 8:11:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/tamil-nadu-assembly/edappadi-palaniswami-interview-decisions-on-vanniyar-quota-devendrakula-vellalars-will-not-affect-others/article34233190.ece

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