interview | m. thambi durai Tamil Nadu

Why should a scheme in Tamil Nadu be named in Hindi: Thambi Durai

Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker Thambi Durai   | Photo Credit: C.V.Subrahmanyam

AIADMK propaganda secretary and Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha M. Thambi Durai has of late been a vocal critic of the BJP-led Central government. His stand on the national party is at odds with that of the AIADMK leadership, which is keen on maintaining friendly ties with the Centre “for the benefit of the State”. In a telephonic interview, Mr. Thambi Durai explains why he has adopted a critical stance towards the BJP. Excerpts:

Unlike the AIADMK’s leadership, you have been quite vocal in your criticism of the BJP. Why?

I have been critical of the BJP not at all times, but only when I felt I needed to be. As long as Amma [former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa] was alive, she had been critical of the BJP. As the party’s propaganda secretary, I have been critical of the Centre whenever I needed to be.

What are the specific issues that have prompted you to take on the Centre?

Language, for instance, is important to us. The Centre is trying to impose Hindi on us. Why should a scheme be named in Hindi in Tamil Nadu? I am okay with Hindi names for government schemes in the Hindi belt. Take for instance the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. We don’t understand such names here in Tamil Nadu.

Likewise, there are several other issues on which the Centre is turning, and has almost turned, the country into a unitary State. Though State governments get to implement some schemes, the Centre allocates the funds and prioritises certain schemes. Federalism should not be diluted by the Centre.

The State government’s rights are being taken away. The allocation of funds is an issue. We were not treated fairly by the 14th Finance Commission, and we have been highlighting some issues with the 15th Finance Commission too.

At a time when the mosquito net industry in my area (Karur) is facing problems, new players are entering the country from Bangladesh.

I had raised this issue with [Defence Minister] Nirmala Sitharaman when she was the Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, but the problem remains unresolved. There are many such issues.

As for the language issue, what do you think would be the ideal scenario?

I am for making all the languages in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution the official languages of the country.

In Europe, even languages spoken by just 2% of a country’s population have been made official languages. Why can’t we do that in our country?

You have led several AIADMK delegations and accompanied State Ministers to meet Union Ministers over various issues. Have those meetings been fruitful?

Not all. Some meetings have been good, some haven’t.

Do you think the AIADMK, which has around 50 MPs, is being given the attention it deserves in New Delhi?

I think numbers don’t matter, but circumstances do. Be it the Congress or the BJP, they give priority to our party at times when they need us. At other times, we are not treated with the same level of importance.

Do you concur with the contention that the CBI and I-T raids are being used to arm-twist the AIADMK into doing something for the Centre?

Political parties always make that claim when they are in opposition. When the BJP was in opposition, it claimed that the Central Bureau of Investigation was the ‘Congress Bureau of Investigation’, and now, the opposition is making a similar claim.

You have alleged that there was a BJP-DMK nexus behind the CBI raids. Why do you think so?

Well, why would [DMK president] M.K. Stalin welcome the raids targeting our Minister and the DGP?

Do you think the AIADMK, in its current form, is being projected as a party built around only two personalities – convenor O. Panneerselvam and co-convenor Edappadi K. Palaniswami — with the contributions of other senior leaders being overlooked?

No. There is nothing wrong in projecting the party with its convenor and co-convenor at the helm. Focusing on each and every senior leader would only create confusion.

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Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 6:41:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/why-should-a-scheme-in-tamil-nadu-be-named-in-hindi/article25470681.ece

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