DMK chief MK Stalin speaking to News18 has said that Tamil Nadu will never accept the BJP and that the party would attempt to impose Hindi and Sanskrit, and wipe out Tamil from the state in the name of development.
He said that the people of Tamil Nadu want the state to remain secular and likely won't let the BJP come in power.
As assembly elections are soon to be held in Tamil Nadu, Stalin said that the DMK and the Congress will surely contest the elections together.
He said that price rise and sufferings of farmers were among the things that would become key issues in the upcoming elections.
Here are excerpts from the interview:
How has the reaction been for the gram sabha campaign?
We had decided to hold over 16,000 gram sabhas across Tamil Nadu. The people have participated enthusiastically, particularly women. Usually, women just walk away from public meetings; but in these gram sabha they sit patiently, ask questions, and listen to my answers. This is a huge change.
What are the issues that will impact the elections?
Already, the people are going through tough times because of the coronavirus over the last ten months. Many have lost their livelihoods, unemployment is at its peak, price inflation is ascending every day. The rates of diesel and petrol is increasing every day. The Centre and the state are unable to curtail the price rise. Particularly, farmers— they are the backbone of this country. The Centre is not in a position to meet their demands. The state government here [Tamil Nadu] has adopted a submissive stance, and gone on to support the Centre. Just today, in the birthplace of Thalaivar Kalaignar in Thirukuvalai, a comrade has died by suicide because of the mental agony caused by crop damage. This is the situation of the people. They are determined to cause a change of government.
How do you view the decision by the Centre to keep the farm laws in abeyance for 18 months?
I think it’s an attempt to save face. It’s a tactic to bring them[farm laws] back again. The farmers are being offered so many incentives but it all appears diversionary. They have met so many times but a consensus has not been reached. So, there is little scope for trust in the government now.
What about the BJP’s presence on the ground in Tamil Nadu. Will the people accept the BJP?
There is no way they will accept the BJP. At any cost, the people want the state to be secular. And Thiruvalluvar [Tamil philosopher-poet] has been used to propagate their agenda—the BJP and the RSS have given him a saffron shade. This is how it’s progressing in Tamil Nadu. Not just that — in the name of bringing development to Tamil Nadu, there is an attempt to impose Hindi and Sanskrit and wipe out Tamil from the state. So, under no circumstance will be the people of Tamil Nadu accept the BJP.
Will the DMK-Congress continue in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry?
Let there be no doubt about it. We[DMK and Congress] were together for the Parliamentary polls, together for the local body polls, and we will be together for the forthcoming Assembly polls; As far as Puducherry is concerned, the DMK comrades feel it necessary to go to the polls alone; the Leadership will take the right decision at the appropriate time.
Some Congress leaders say Kamal Haasan should be a part of the DMK-Cong alliance...
That is their opinion. I do not think I have to express my opinion on it.
Sasikala is getting released. Will there be a political impact because of this development?
That’s an internal matter of the party [ADMK]. I should not interfere in that. Whatever be the outcome, right now she is in hospital. My interest is that she retains her health and gets discharged from the hospital. That is my feeling.
You have been consistently speaking about the probe into Jayalalithaa's death. What is your interest in the case?
Yes, it’s been three years since the Arumugamsamy Commission has been set up. The enquiry into this was sought by Deputy Chief Minister Panneerselvam, not the DMK. They [AIADMK] have her picture in their shirt pockets, and say it’s her government they are running, they are also going to inaugurate her memorial on January 27, but they won’t get to the bottom of her mysterious death. it is not the death of a normal person. It is the death of the chief minister of the state.
MGR died when he was serving as the CM, Annadurai died when he was the CM. Back then, details of their illness and the treatment given to them were made available to the public. But there has been no details available on Jayalalithaa's death. DMK wants to bring out the truth. If DMK comes to power, we will purse a probe into Jaya'd death.