DMK patriarch late M Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi is confident the party will win the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, beating AIADMK’s “incompetence” and BJP’s “divisive politics”.
She has expressed confidence that the DMK will put up a good show under the leadership of MK Stalin in the first assembly elections it will be fighting after the death of the late party patriarch M Karunanidhi. “We have won the Lok Sabha election of 2019 under MK Stalin without him (M Karunanidhi). So, I think we have already proven that we can win. DMK’s core philosophy is clear to the party cadre and leaders,” she told The Indian Express.
She said the challenge will be to fight the AIADMK’s and BJP’s use of “money for votes”. “The BJP will try to polarise voters by bringing in religion, which has never worked in Tamil Nadu. The DMK will work against it,” she said.
Kanimozhi said people are fed up with the “incompetence” of the AIADMK because it “gives in to the Centre’s demands and doesn’t stand for its own rights”.
On farmers’ protest, the DMK leader said, “Though there have not been protests in Tamil Nadu, farmers, when spoken to individually, say they feel very letdown because of the AIADMK government’s support to the farm laws…Employment, too, is a huge issue and when the DMK regains power, it will bring in investments and industry so that there are more jobs.”
She claimed both the DMK and Congress have a clear understanding and there won’t be “any issue over allocation of seats”.
Asked if Rajinikanth’s decision to not enter politics would be a setback to the BJP’s plans in the state, she said, “The BJP cannot have anybody on a par with him.” She, however, said that even if Rajini had launched a party and contested the elections, it would not have had any significant impact on the elections outcome.
She also said the BJP’s politics based on polarisation will not work in Tamil Nadu. “The BJP knows that Hindus in Tamil Nadu are not communal. The people here will not accept divisions on religious lines. I don’t think polarisation on religious lines would be a problem here,” Kanimozhi told The Indian Express.
On BJP’s growth in Tamil Nadu, she said, “There is no denying that the BJP has more cadres and leaders now in Tamil Nadu, but I don’t think the growth is significant.”
The BJP’s charge that the DMK is a party of atheists doesn’t worry Kanimozhi. “I am an atheist and I am very proud of it. The DMK has atheists, but 90 per cent people in the party are Hindus. The DMK is not against Hindus or Muslims, agnostics and atheists. DMK founder Anna (C N Annadurai) said there is one god, that god can be anything to anybody.”
On actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan’s prospects in the elections, she said, “With Kamal Haasan or without him, the DMK is winning this election.”
Kanimozhi accepted the importance of social media in today’s times. “You see many people on social media who speak for the Dravidian ideology. They may not be a part of the AIADMK or the DMK. The only difference is that people are doing it (defending the ideology) from the comforts of their homes and not in the streets. This change is happening and it is mainly because of the fear of contracting COVID-19,” she said.
On the Congress’ poor show across the country and its diminishing presence as the principle opposition party, Kanimozhi said, “We can’t expect only one party to create a strong opposition… I think it (the Opposition coming together at the national level) will happen as time passes.”
Kanimozhi also spoke about the amil language and the need for preserving the Tamil value system. “We are clear about preserving our culture and language. And I would say Tamil sees no existential crisis today. Despite the Union government and the BJP trying to impose Hindi on us, Tamil (language) is not threatened at all.”
Kanimozhi, who is DMK’s face in New Delhi, said, “Nobody is against learning Hindi or Malayalam, or any other language for that matter, but do not impose a language on us.”
She also stressed on the need for accepting change and the party reinventing itself. “The DMK has always been a cadre-based party which reaches out to people. But, with the advent of technology, especially the way BJP uses social media, we need to embrace the new media to reach out to more number of people.”