July 06 2020
‘DMK has lost touch with the people’
06 April 2019

PMK leader says it was Kalaignar’s strategy to divide regions along caste lines

PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss, in an interview with The Hindu, defends the alliance with the AIADMK and the BJP while taking on the DMK, accusing it of sidelining the VCK in campaigns. Excerpts:

After bitterly criticising AIADMK and BJP, you aligned with them instead of DMK. Why?

The DMK has a very arrogant leadership. It has lost touch with the people. Its cadres are disenchanted with the leadership. These are the main reasons. On this side, we get a lot of respect from the CM and the Deputy CM. Modi described Dr. Ramadoss as one of the most senior politicians in India.

But the PMK is facing criticism of polarising the Vanniyars and Dalits…

We are not against Dalits. We are politically opposed to the VCK and Thirumavalavan. Our alliance has a few Dalit parties and leaders — Jagan Moorthy, Krishnasamy and John Pandian — and we are working very closely with them. It is the DMK that is practising ‘modern untouchability’ in politics. The DMK headquarters has given instructions to the districts not to have VCK flags at its public meetings. Thirumavalavan has been asked to stay put in his constituency. VCK’s graffiti are being confined to Adi Dravidar colonies. This is a new form of untouchability practised by the DMK to get the votes of non-Dalit communities. It was Kalaignar’s (Karunanidhi) strategy to divide regions into caste entities and making communities fight one another. Stalin continues to do it.

Mr Stalin and his son Udhayanidhi have strongly criticised you…

Stalin is angry that we didn’t join their alliance. All the 20 DMK candidates are crorepatis. Udhayanidhi asks in Dharmapuri if there is no one else to contest from the PMK. I am asking him: ‘Aren’t there any other senior speakers in the party than Udhayanidhi?’ I have worked in the party for 21 years. What has he done?

You criticised Udhayanidhi and his friends of acting like businessmen. Why?

The DMK is not run by Stalin; it is run by four youngsters — Udhayanidhi, Stalin’s son-in-law Sabareesan and their friends — who have no experience in politics and are acting like businessmen. Six candidates are sons and daughters of former ministers. Jagathrakshagan and T.R. Baalu are billionaires. Other candidates are presumably dollar billionaires. If you have money, you can contest in the DMK.

Could it be said that your alliance is more of an arithmetic arrangement than an ideologically coherent alliance?

Alliances and ideologies are different things. The PMK, the BJP or the AIADMK have not let go of their ideologies. Communists are opposing Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad, but welcoming the Congress in T.N. Jagathrakshagan has invested ₹26,000 crore in Sri Lanka for the uplift of Sinhalese. When Rajinikanth wanted to go to Sri Lanka to inaugurate houses, the DMK and the so-called progressive leaders Vaiko, Thirumavalavan and Veeramani opposed it. We will continue to oppose the Chennai-Salem expressway, Sterlite and hydrocarbon project. We joined the alliance placing 10 demands and are confident they will be fulfilled.

If the NDA forms the government, what would your major plans be?

The government has allotted ₹550 crore for four-laning of the road connecting Vaniyambadi and Salem. So an eight-lane road becomes unnecessary. Our priority is farming and irrigation. We will push for 20 schemes pending in T.N. The Godavari-Cauvery linking project will ensure that TN gets 200 TMC water.



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