Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections | Purchasing votes through money power is not good for democracy, says Duraimurugan

DMK general secretary Duraimurugan during an interview with The Hindu in Vellore.   | Photo Credit: C. Venkatachalapathy

Since 1971, DMK general secretary Duraimurugan has contested from Katapadi for nine times in the assembly elections. For the tenth time, the 83-year-old veteran will be contesting in the upcoming Assembly Elections. He appeared confident about winning and seemed relaxed when The Hindu met him at his house in Gandhi Nagar, Katpadi.

Dressed in his trademark white t-shirt and dhoti, he spoke about how ideas of politics and politicians have changed and what he plans for the constituency, with his trademark humour.

From wall posters to digital campaigns during elections, how do you see the change?

Now there are no wall posters, it is a digital culture. Due to advancement in technology, news can spread faster than conventional media or notices. Our messages are now reaching the youngsters easily and they are spreading it everywhere.

You have been in politics for five decades. What changes do you see in politics today?

Politics has become money minded and service to the public has taken a back seat. Purchasing votes through money power is not good for democracy.

I started competing in elections in 1971. The difference between polls then and today, is that now money is the motive and I dont feel service is given sufficient importance. Earlier, the public used to demand improvements in public amenities such as water, transport, infrastructure, education, renovation of temples. They used to be happy if we fulfilled their wishes and used to vote for us. Now people have begun asking us how much money a candidate will give them for voting.

Who is to be blamed for this?

Politicians have mentally spoilt the people by giving money. I don't like this trend.

The affluent think that they can win elections if they have money. They dont bother about service. Some politicians are contesting from unfamiliar constituencies and not from their respective hometown or places where they are familiar with. They try to purchase votes with their money power and I'm betting even if they win, they will not bother to visit the constituency again or do any welfare for their voters.

People should understand that those who purchase votes with money will not do any service for them.

This is the first assembly election without your mentor and DMK patriarch M. Karunanidhi. What advice from him propels you still?

Thalaivar ( Karunanidhi) used to ask us to serve without any expectation. Winning or not is secondary, service should be first.

How do you see the new generation of politicians? Especially after seeing political stalwarts in your political life

Politicians from my generation developed knowledge by learning from scratch. I came into politics after being inspired by former chief minister C N Annadurai's Dravida Nadu ideology. I studied and researched about other small nations who got freedom and how they are managing their affairs.

Now, people are not coming into politics to pursue any kind of ideology. On the first day of joining, they ask what post he/she would get. They dont know about leaders or their ideology. Not knowing something is okay, but remaining ignorant about it is no good.

How do you strike a chord with the people in your constituency?

I don't do any preparation and do not go on door-to-door campaigns. People gather around me and I become one among them. I speak their language and this has helped me win hearts all these years.

What is the first thing that you will do for Katpadi if you win?

Every election I promise something and I have fulfilled it. I have brought Palar water to Katpadi. In case I am not able to keep up my promise, I explain the reason to the public. This time my promise is to set up a super-specialty hospital like AIIMS in my constituency.

The second thing is to bring a SIPCOT here, with the condition to provide employment to local residents too. I am confident of winning this election and fulfilling my promises.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 11:47:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/tamil-nadu-assembly/tn-assembly-polls-purchasing-votes-through-money-power-is-not-good-for-democracy-says-duraimurugan/article34183583.ece

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