Chennai: “The DMDK has been an integral part of Tamilnadu politics. Having stitched a strong alliance for the Lok Sabha polls this time, we are going all guns blazing. Our president, Captain Vijayakanth, will make a whirlwind tour across the State and address cadres,” says the party’s deputy secretary L K Sudhish.
Speaking to News Today, the brother-in-law of Vijayakanth, says, “Chief Minister K Palaniswami, Deputy Chief Minister O Pannerselvam, PMK’s Dr S Ramadoss and DMDK treasurer Premalatha will be the star campaigners of our grand alliance.”
Terming DMK leader Duraimurugan’s charge that the DMDK approached his party for alliance even as it was talking to the AIADMK as ‘unethical’ and ‘false’, Sudhish says, “When we want Narendra Modi to become Prime Minister for a second term, there is no way we would approach them.” Having expressed his desire to contest from Kallakurichi this time, he is confident that he would emerge triumphant.
Excerpts from his interview
Q: On forging alliance with the AIADMK.
A: We joined hands for the first time in 2011 Assembly elections and managed a landslide victory. No doubt ours is a ‘vettri kootani’. We are coming together for a second time. Cadres are enthused.
Q: Why was there a delay in formally announcing your tie-up with AIADMK combine?
A: It was not a delay. We were the first to announce that we would go in for an alliance with the BJP. We made it as early as January this year. A five-member committee headed by me was appointed to discuss seat-sharing with parties. I was in constant touch with BJP president Amit Shah. We were very clear that Narendra Modi should become the Prime Minister again. However, Amit Shah told me later that I should talk to the AIADMK. The AIAIDMK announced suddenly during the third week of February that seat-sharing was formally completed with PMK and BJP. In 2014, when we headed the then coalition comprising several parties, everyone signed the pact formally on a single day. This led to some communication gap. Still, we continued with the talks and that cannot be called as delay.
Q: How do you react to Duraimurugan’s allegations that you held talks with them as well as the AIADMK simultaneously?
A: When there was a lull in our talks with the AIADMK, DMK approached us asking whether we are exploring the possibility of joining them. Whatever I may discuss, it is our party chief (Vijayakanth), who has to take a final decision. On the day of Modi’s rally, a few of our men had called on Duraimurugan for a different reason. Sadly, it was unethical on the part of a veteran politician to come out with false charges against us.
Q: How upbeat is your alliance now?
A: There is an excellent rapport among not just the leaders of the alliance parties but also among the cadres. PMK leaders, Dr S Ramadoss and Anbumani, called on Vijayakanth and exchanged pleasantries. The mood is upbeat. We are confident of winning the 40 constituencies (39 in Tamilnadu and one in Puducherry). Cutting across party lines, our men will work sincerely towards success.
Q: How is Vijayakanth’s health and will he campaign this time?
A: He is fast recovering. Though doctors advised him to take a little more rest in USA, his desire to meet his cadres and enthuse them with his presence, propelled him to come early. Our men are eagerly waiting to see Vijayakanth campaigning. He will tour the constituencies and certainly address gatherings.
Q: What did you learn from Vijayakanth?
A: His dedication, sincerity and love for people. That inspired me a lot. Also, I imbibed from Vijayakanth the need to be punctual for all meetings.