Ahead of the Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, DMK President and Leader of Opposition MK Stalin told The News Minute that the 2021 polls was a test not of his leadership but of the people of the state as they fight against the “fascist forces of the BJP” and the “corrupt AIADMK”.
Stalin, who was confident of sweeping this election, sees himself as one of the “soldiers” fighting this pitched battle against both these forces alongside the citizens of the state.
According to Stalin, the BJP’s gameplan in Tamil Nadu (TN) was to weaken the AIADMK and establish their footprint in the state. But the BJP has underestimated the people of TN and failed to understand the “basic fabric of the Tamil society”, which believes in social justice of the true kind, he said. And added that anyone who tries to “sow the seeds of inequality, religious divisions, or any kind of oppression in the state would be strongly opposed”.
Taking the BJP head-on, the regional satrap said that when such divisive forces have earlier tried to intrude into TN, people have always got together to fight and preserve their identity. “This is another such battle,” asserted the Thalaivar to TNM. The people are clear and united in not wanting to “bow or bend to any power outside the state”, despite AIADMK’s servility.
On asked how he will work with the BJP-led Central government if the DMK came to power, he replied that he will extend a “hand of friendship” but will not allow them to “trample on our self-respect and rights”. And, gave the example of how the AIADMK despite being in an alliance with the BJP, and had showed support for the CAA, had failed to get an exception for NEET exams and to secure the GST amount.
On how he will deal with misogyny and sexism among certain party leaders, which he had spoken out against, Stalin replied that nobody should speak words that hurt and offend any religion, community or gender. “Dignity is very important”, he said, adding that he will personally ensure the safety, security and empowerment of all sisters, mothers and daughters of TN.
In the past, TN used to vote alternatively for either one of the regional parties – the DMK or the AIADMK. However, for the first time, there are a lot more parties in the fray, who seem to be targeting the “common enemy”, the DMK. What was his opinion on this multi-cornered fight? TNM asked him.
Stalin however disagreed that it was a multi-cornered fight and said that it was still a battle between the old regional warhorses. According to him, people of TN were too clever to waste their votes. On charges of land-grabbing and other criminal cases against DMK ministers during the 2006-2011 regime, Stalin said that this was fake propaganda spread by the AIADMK, which had no achievements to showcase for their time in power. He recalled the pledge he had taken in Trichy as well – that he would deal with crimes and violations of laws with an iron fist.
Finally, on his first priority if he becomes the Chief Minister of the state, Stalin said that he would work on a ‘mission mode’ to solve people’s grievances, restore and improve the state’s finances after a thorough review and thirdly, he would establish the Department of Programme Implementation to ensure every single beneficiary of government schemes get what they rightfully deserve.