The AIADMK coordinator and former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, on Saturday, turned down the invitation of DMK president and Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, to join the All India Federation for Social Justice floated by him.
In his reply to Mr. Stalin’s letter of invitation, dated February 2, Mr. Panneerselvam criticised the former’s announcement of having decided to form the body without holding a meeting of like-minded parties beforehand. He also dubbed the decision as a one, aimed at getting a “political gain” for the DMK and also as one that had “nothing to do with the welfare” of people of the State.
Mr. Panneerselvam claimed that the Federation was being formed to “divert the attention of people, dissatisfied” with the performance of the DMK government.
Expressing the AIADMK’s disinclination to involve itself with the new body, Mr. Panneerselvam requested Mr. Stalin to “concentrate” on people-centric issues, including seeking exemption from National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for students of the State for admissions to medical courses.
He dealt at length on how the AIADMK and its leaders, M.G. Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa, had contributed to the cause of social justice and accused the DMK of having maintained silence and supporting the Centre when Jayalalithaa took up the cudgels for federal principles.
Pointing out that the ruling party was against the imposition of cess and surcharge, when it was not part of the Central government, Mr. Panneerselvam recalled that at the time of enactment of the 80th Amendment in 2000, which excluded cess and surcharge from the purview of devolution, the DMK shared power at the Centre. When the DMK was part of the Union government for 17 years, Tamil Nadu’s inter-se share in the divisible pool of Central taxes was on the “declining trend.” Then, the party had “not raised its voice for social justice and State autonomy.”
Mr. Panneerselvam added that his party alone had the “moral right” to speak about social justice or State autonomy or federal principles.