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No Problem With Rahul Gandhi as PM, Fight Is Against Modi Govt, Says DMK’s A Raja

He also revealed that Stalin, unlike other leaders, does not have “aspirations” to be a PM candidate.

Poornima Murali | CNN-News18

Updated:November 8, 2018, 12:28 PM IST
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Chennai: The DMK is expected to spell out its strategy for 2019 Lok Sabha elections at a meeting in Tamil Nadu’s Perambalur district to be chaired by party president MK Stalin. Former Telecom minister and Stalin loyalist A Raja said that the party’s strategy will be to help form a secular government at the Centre and its focus will be on a Modi vs DMK fight in the state.

“This election is not between the DMK and the AIADMK or between MK Stalin and EPS-OPS. This election is DMK versus the central government and DMK versus Modi. We want to have a secular government,” Raja said, adding that DMK is a regional party with a national outlook.

In an interview with CNN-News18, he said that the party “guided the central governments” and “selected prime ministers and presidents.”

“We are politically confined to the state but we have our own national interest. This time, we want a secular government. We will do everything to establish a central government,” said Raja.

Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu is also scheduled to meet Stalin on Friday. Naidu had earlier called for a ‘united opposition’ to fight the BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The DMK says it will play a bigger role this time in forming a formidable secular front for the upcoming polls. A Raja said: “Numerically, BJP is strong. They have money power, they have many CMs in the country. We must have a formidable alliance to topple the central government.”

The DMK leader said that MK Stalin’s role is pivotal in bringing the regional parties together and resolving the differences between them.

He also revealed that Stalin, unlike other leaders, does not have “aspirations” to be a PM candidate. “When you don’t have ambitions, you will have more say in the negotiations,” Raja said.

DMK, however, admits that the road to mega alliance for 2019 Lok Sabha election may not be easy as the prime ministerial candidature might arise as a point of contention.

“We don’t have a problem with Rahul Gandhi as a PM candidate. We are going to contest from 40 seats and we are aiming for 40 or may be 35 at the least. With those numbers, we cannot dictate on who will be the prime minister,” Raja said, adding that the parties need to discuss together. He also said that there is no animosity towards Rahul Gandhi.

He, however, did not speak on the issue of post poll alliance.

As the stage is being set for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, TTV Dinakaran, founder of Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam, has also expressed his interest in allying with the Congress if DMK-Congress alliance fails to materialise.

Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan, too, has shown interest in allying with the Congress. The DMK has now left the ball in the Congress’ court to take a call.

A Raja said: “Congress has to decide now. We have declared we want to remove the Modi government and establish a secular government.”

When asked if the DMK would consider Kamal Haasan as an ally, A Raja said the frequency hasn’t coincided as yet.

DMK has been launching a scathing attack on the ruling government in Tamil Nadu alleging that the EPS-OPS faction has surrendered to the state government. The party feels that Jayalalithaa’s approach to the Centre was different and she was a leader who fought for the rights of the state.

“We had political differences with Jayalalithaa. But as a state leader, she used to fight with the central government. She did not give up the rights of the state. But this government has completely surrendered to Modi government. EPS and OPS are political slaves to the central government. How can the government run?” A Raja questioned.

With the demise of two tall leaders, M Karunanidhi and J Jayalalithaa, political analysts said there is a political vacuum in the state. The upcoming elections will be an interesting as people of Tamil Nadu will decide the winner.​

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| Edited by: Sana Fazili
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