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'There's clarity in AIADMK-BJP alliance'

By A GANESH NADAR
December 21, 2020 16:55 IST
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'It's a natural alliance and this alliance has been has been formed without compromising the core ideology of the AIADMK.'

IMAGE: In October, Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, left, announced Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, right, as the AIADMK's CM candidate for next year's assembly election. Photograph: L Anantha Krishnan/ANI Photo

The assembly elections in Tamil Nadu will be held in April-May, but the excitement is already building up.

Rajnikanth has thrown his hat in the ring by announcing the launch of his political party in January.

The BJP, which took out a Vel Yatra recently, has said its Union ministers and chief ministers will visit every district in Tamil Nadu over the next 90 days.

Ministers from the ruling AIADMK party, led by Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswamy, are already visiting districts regularly.

DMK leader Stalin is holding virtual meetings. Stalin's son Udaynidhi Stalin, is touring various parts of Tamil Nadu. Tuticorin MP Kanimozhi and other DMK heavyweights have thrown their weight behind Stalin.

Meanwhile, M K Azhagiri (the late chief minister and DMK chief M Karunanidhi's son and Stalin's elder brother, who was removed from the DMK in 2014) has said he will make a difference in the coming election.

Kamal Haasan, who launched his political party, the Makkal Needhi Maiam, in 2018, is presently touring southern Tamil Nadu.

V K Sasikala (the late chief minister J Jayalalithaa's confidante) is expected to be released from jail -- she was found guilty in a disproportionate assets case -- before the election.

Tamil Nadu seems set for interesting months ahead. To understand how the ruling party party is preparing for the upcoming electoral battle, Rediff.com's A Ganesh Nadar spoke to AIADMK Spokesperson Satyan Rajan aka Kovai Satyan.

Rajnikanth has announced that he is entering the political field. What effect will he have in the elections next year?

Let him fulfill his statement.

He said the same thing two years ago. Let him start his party, state his ideology.

There has to be a cause-effect movement.

We will discuss it after he actually comes into politics.

He has movie followers. He has to have an ideology that people can follow. He has to come out with that.

Even (former film-maker and actor) Seeman (he is the chief coordinator of the Naam Tamilar Katchi party) is in politics, but he has explained why he wants to be in politics.

M K Azhagiri has said that he will make a difference in next year's assembly elections. What do you feel?

He has true potential.

He will have an effect. He has proved it in the past in the DMK; when he was in the party, he delivered.

He made Madurai his bastion and he delivered what the DMK wanted to achieve in south Tamil Nadu.

He made his presence felt in those areas.

After his success in Bihar, Asaduddin Owaisi of the AIMIM is also planning to contest the Tamil Nadu election. Whose votes do you think he will eat into?

We have IUML (Indian Union Muslim League) and other representatives already present in Tamil Nadu for decades. I am not sure what impact the AIMIM can make in Tamil Nadu.

The AIADMK government takes care of all communities.

When it comes to social justice, we have proven that we deliver. We always give equal opportunities and representation to everybody.

Anybody who wants to talk about one particular sect or religion in the name of minorities does not know the history of Tamil Nadu and the performance and achievements of the AIADMK.

How did the Vel Yatra pan out? What effect did it have on the people?

About Vel Yatra, please ask the Tamil Nadu BJP president, L Murugan.

The government is the custodian of the welfare of the people. During the pandemic, the welfare of the people is the utmost priority of the government.

IMAGE: Home Minister Amit Anilchandra Shah and Bharatiya Janata Party President Jagat Prakash Nadda, right, visited Chennai on November 21, 2020. Photograph: PTI Photo

Your ally, the BJP, is planning to send their central ministers and chief ministers to every district in Tamil Nadu. How will the people receive them?

It's a natural alliance and this alliance has been has been formed without compromising the core ideology of the AIADMK.

The core ideology for both parties is the people's welfare.

It is the need of the hour to meet the people and tell them about all the welfare measures they have initiated for the welfare of the people.

An assertive BJP is going to demand a lot of seats for the next assembly elections. How are you going to manage that?

Every party knows their strengths and weaknesses in the demography where they are operating.

The BJP also knows it clearly.

Our high command will take an appropriate and right decision at the right time.

It is too early to talk about that now.

Your other ally, the Pattali Makkal Katchi, will want more seats than the BJP. What do you have to say about that?

Everybody has aspirations to grow compared to the last elections.

In an election, we have to see what the Opposition is doing.

We have to convert their weakness to our strength, which we have never failed to do.

Chief Minister Edappadi Palaiswamy has said you will continue with the existing alliance. Do you think seat-sharing process will be smooth?

It will be.

Edappadi Palaniswamy has delivered what he has said in the past four years. He has walked the talk. So the cadre and the common people believe that he delivers what he promises.

The seat sharing will be smooth.

IMAGE: Rajinikanth shows the Apana Mudra during a recent press conference to announce the upcoming launch of his political party. Photograph: R Senthil Kumar/PTI Photo

The DMK-Congress alliance is stable because, even when the Congress was in power at the Centre, it played second fiddle to the DMK in Tamil Nadu. Do you think the BJP will do that?

You cannot compare the BJP with the Congress. The Congress is in shambles and wherever the Congress is in alliance, it is a liability.

The Congress is a liability to the DMK and vice versa.

There is clarity in leadership in the AIADMK-BJP alliance.

There is a perception that the entire minority vote is with the DMK-Congress alliance. How are you going to fight that?

That's a false narrative set by the DMK.

What happened to the CAA protests they started two years ago?

They use the minorities only as a vote bank.

Wherever there is an opportunity to instigate them or make them feel insecure and vulnerable they will do that, just for their votes.

The AIADMK is the custodian of their welfare. The minorities know and realise that.

Will Sasikala's release have any effect on your party?

Absolutely not!

She has nothing to do with the AIADMK.

Her exit from jail will not create any impact on the party.

That goes for Sasikala and all her relatives.

What about T T V Dinakaran? He did win the RK Nagar by-poll.

That is what I meant by all her relatives.

He is done and dusted. He has run out of gas.

Will the pandemic have any effect on the campaigning?

Certainly, there is a change of mode.

People are seeing who stood by them during these turbulent times.

People believe that we will stand by them.

They acknowledge that we delivered what we promised.

What preparations are you making for the elections?

The ground is ready.

More district secretaries have been appointed. The number of district secretaries has been increased.

There is a huge scope for youngsters who are hard working and contribute for the welfare of the party.

Do you think money distribution will take place as usual?

Not from our side! But allegations will be inevitable.

Political awareness in the minds of people here is much higher as compared to other states.

We certainly cannot use the same formula and strategies that are decades old.

People are very clear about what you promise and what you deliver.

Is there a chance of Tamil Nadu moving from a single party rule to a coalition?

No! We are sure that the AIADMK will form the government in 2021.

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/Rediff.com

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