Tamil Nadu

Will quit politics if claim of my overtures to BJP is proved: Stalin

Doubly-committed to making Rahul Gandhi PM, says DMK leader

Asserting that the DMK was “doubly-committed” to forming a secular government and making Congress leader Rahul Gandhi the Prime Minister, party president M.K. Stalin on Tuesday said he was ready to quit politics if BJP leader Tamilisai Soundararajan proved her allegation that he was holding talks with the BJP.

“Ms. Soundararajan has said this with the motive of holding off a defeat for the AIADMK in the bypolls to four Assembly constituencies. I challenge her to prove that I am holding talks with the BJP to form an alliance. Is she ready to quit politics if she fails to prove her claim?” Mr. Stalin said in a statement.

He said Ms. Soundararajan would not succeed in creating confusion in the alliance led by the DMK in Tamil Nadu.

The BJP leader triggered a political storm on Tuesday by claiming that Mr. Stalin was in talks with the BJP. Addressing reporters in Thoothukudi, she said she concurred with Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar’s recent comments stating that the DMK was in talks with the BJP for Cabinet berths.

When asked who was carrying out the talks, she said, “They speak to us through someone or the other, but they are in talks.” She added that the party would only send out feelers ‘surreptitiously’.

The DMK was a party of different hues, as it was sending different messages to the Congress, Telangana Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao and the BJP, she said. “Some sections of the media have been saying that the AIADMK and the BJP were tensed over their meeting. But we are not,” she said.

Responding to her allegations, Mr. Stalin said they were “an utter lie and highly condemnable”. “It shows that the BJP is in a desperate situation as it is staring at defeat. It pains me to note that Ms. Soundararajan, who belongs to a family of traditional politicians, has stooped to this level,” he said.

The DMK leader said it was he who first proposed the name of Rahul Gandhi as a Prime Ministerial candidate. “I made a strong case against re-electing Mr. [Narendra] Modi as the Prime Minister not only in Chennai, but also in Delhi and Kolkata. Even in my campaign in the four byelection-bound Assembly constituencies, I have been saying that Mr. Modi will be unseated as Prime Minister,” he said.

With the Telangana CM’s visit triggering speculation that the DMK was in touch with the BJP, Mr. Stalin said it was not the first time that Mr. Rao had visited him.

“The DMK headquarters clearly said it was a courtesy call. But Ms. Soundararajan has distorted the issue with the intention of preventing the DMK from getting the minority vote in the byelections, and to blunt the DMK’s campaign for making Mr. Rahul Gandhi the Prime Minister,” he alleged.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 8:18:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/will-quit-politics-if-claim-of-my-overtures-to-bjp-is-proved-stalin/article27131079.ece

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