EPS accuses DMK's partners of servitude, praises NDA for allowing free speech
AIADMK general secretary Edappadi K. Palaniswami (EPS) on Wednesday (July 19) accused the DMK’s allies of being subservient to the ruling party in Tamil Nadu.
He insisted that the partners within the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had the liberty to express factual opinions freely.
In Tamil Nadu, the former chief minister said it was his party, the AIADMK, that led the NDA while at the national level the BJP steered the coalition.
The NDA would emerge victorious in 330 Lok Sabha constituencies across the country, the AIADMK top leader said in the national capital.
Speaking to reporters, when asked if it was possible to garner 50 per cent plus vote share in view of factors such as price rise, Palaniswami said the country has witnessed growth under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi despite aspects like the coronavirus pandemic.
“India’s reputation growing under Modi”
Also, several economies in the world faced challenges. However, in India it was not the case as challenges were tackled well by the NDA. Across the world, the nation’s reputation has grown under Modi’s leadership.
The NDA-led Centre worked after ascertaining the needs of the youth and for sure, the alliance would win 330 Lok Sabha seats in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, he said. The Lok Sabha has a total of 543 seats.
In Tamil Nadu, be it the Assembly or Lok Sabha polls, the alliance is led by the AIADMK, he said. Palaniswami said at the national-level, the NDA combine is led by the BJP.
As regards the NDA alliance, parties functioned with independence whereas in the DMK-led front, outfits worked like a “slave”, he alleged.
Palaniswami said in the DMK-Congress alliance, Stalin-led party’s interests took precedence (in the Tamil Nadu context, wherein Congress and Left parties are among the constituents of the alliance).
Quoting a Tamil proverb that meant people agreeing to everything irrespective of whether the statement made was correct or false, he said it applied to the DMK-Congress combine. “It is not the case in our (NDA) alliance.”
“No small or big party”
In the NDA combine, there is freedom for parties to speak the facts and Modi himself said there is no such thing as “a small or big” party.
The NDA comprises parties that have unique qualities with separate ideologies. It is common for all political parties to aim at further growth and aspire to capture power.
However, once the alliance is firmed up for polls, the common interests of the combine converge and it assumes importance, he said.
The AIADMK leader made these remarks while answering a question covering aspects like BJP TN chief K Annamalai’s statements vis-a-vis saffron party’s growth, question of alliance and the AIADMK and in that context, whether it is the Dravidian party or the BJP that steered the NDA in Tamil Nadu. Palaniswami’s jibe comes against the background of DMK’s oft-repeated taunt over the years that AIADMK is servile to the BJP.
Asked if BJP’s partners would stick to the alliance till the national polls, he said “there is no scope for the question”.
Notwithstanding “small or big party”, all the outfits are given due respect in the NDA, which reflected in the July 18 meet and the alliance functioned based on “unanimous” views.
As regards Tamil Nadu, he hinted that his party is the NDA’s key force. The AIADMK is the principal opposition party and has 1.72 crore members, he said.
From the times of party founder M G Ramachandran and later during the tenure of late party matriarch J Jayalalithaa, the AIADMK had struck alliances with like-minded parties and had won elections, he said.
On seat-sharing, he said, “We have not gone towards that step”.
Asked on DMK’s allegation that the Centre does not act in respect of graft allegations like the Gutkha case, if leaders/parties facing it align with the BJP, he claimed: “In the whole of India, it is only the DMK’s regime that was dismissed for corruption.”
During the Congress-led UPA regime (2009-14), DMK leaders K Kanimozhi and A Raja were arrested in the 2G spectrum case. DMKs V Senthil Balaji and K Ponmudy faced ED probe. Balaji is now in jail. The DMK (and its chief M K Stalin) has no locus standi to comment on AIADMK, he said attacking TN’s ruling party.
Palaniswami said a false case against him by DMK alleging graft — covering tender process — has been trashed by the Madras High Court.
“OPS DMK’s B-team”
The AIADMK general secretary reiterated that expelled leader O Panneerselvam and his loyalists were the DMK’s B-team. In the Kodanad heist-cum-murder case, those who gave surety bonds for the accused belonged to the DMK, he alleged. Also, DMK lawyers argued for the accused in the courts.
At a time when judgment was expected in the heist/murder case, the DMK started the case process — such as probe — afresh only to target the AIADMK, he said. His party had also sought CBI probe into the case, he added.
All political parties including the AIADMK only had the objective of winning polls and alliances were formed based on the circumstances/electoral mood. However, ideology is permanent and it is separate, he said answering a question. He pointed out that the DMK aligned with the BJP in 1999.
To a question on Mekedatu and if he took up the matter with PM Modi, he said the AIADMK had all along opposed the dam project and the Supreme Court verdict in the Cauvery issue is clear. Also, related matters were pending before the top court.
Seeking to turn the tables on DMK, the AIADMK top leader demanded to know why Stalin did not appeal to Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar to give up the dam project as it was the Congress leader who welcomed him when he arrived on July 17 in Bengaluru for the opposition meet.
The AIADMK would open its new office in Delhi in the Tamil month of Aavani (August-September).
(With agency inputs)