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BJP’s manifesto won’t succeed in TN, says Vaiko

MDMK founder Vaiko is considered a great orator and a strong voice for Tamil nationalism and the Dravidian movement. In an exclusive interview with IANS, the veteran leader said that the election manifesto of the BJP which promised to promote Tamil language and culture would not be accepted by the people of Tamil Nadu. He also said that the aim of the INDIA bloc was to win all 39 seats in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry’s one seat and sweep the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has visited Tamil Nadu eight times in the last two months and the recently released election manifesto of the BJP has touched upon Tamil Nadu, its language and culture extensively. Is the BJP slated to win at least a few seats in the state in the forthcoming elections?

The Prime Minister has visited Tamil Nadu several times and the BJP promises to open Thiruvalluvar cultural centres globally in its election manifesto. This won’t make any impact for the BJP in Tamil Nadu. These visits by the Prime Minister won’t get the BJP a single seat nor will the party’s new-found love for Tamil Nadu. The people of the state are smart enough to see through the game plan of PM Modi and the people will give a fitting response to the PM and his party from our state.

You are part of the INDIA bloc. What are the chances of your front in the April 19 Lok Sabha polls?

I don’t have any doubts that the DMK-led INDIA bloc will sweep the elections in Tamil Nadu. We are aiming to win all 39 seats of Tamil Nadu and one seat in Puducherry in the forthcoming elections. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, we won 38 of the 39 seats in Tamil Nadu.

How are you so confident of the DMK-led INDIA bloc sweeping the polls in Tamil Nadu even before the elections?

I have been in politics for several decades and can easily understand the pulse of the people and how they think. Everywhere INDIA bloc leaders go there is a huge welcome from the public. The people of the state wait for long hours just to meet our leaders and to hear what we say. These are clear indications that the people are waiting for the moment to vote for us.

Is there any specific reason for such a positive response from the electorate?

Yes indeed, there are reasons for this fabulous response and love from the people. First there is a people-friendly government at the helm in Tamil Nadu under the leadership of Chief Minister Stalin. The Chief Minister introduced several welfare measures for the people of the state ever since the DMK government assumed office. These people-friendly schemes are of immense help to the citizens. The breakfast scheme for schoolchildren and the Kalaignar Magalir Urimai Thogai (KMUT) scheme that puts Rs 1,000 into the account of women heads of families each month are path-breaking measures. The Makkalai Thedi Maruthuvam scheme of taking healthcare to the doorstep of the people is another revolutionary scheme of the Stalin government.

I can count many welfare schemes that have been successfully implemented ever since the DMK government under Stalin assumed office in Tamil Nadu. The care shown by the Stalin government is being reciprocated by the people of the state and they wait for hours to have a glimpse of the INDIA bloc leaders. My experience in electoral politics has given me the required insight to tell you that it will be a sweep for the DMK-led front in Tamil Nadu.

What’s your opinion about the General Elections at the national level?

Nationally, the BJP and its allies cannot repeat the 2019 performance. The BJP’s allies cannot win more seats in Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Its strength lies in North Indian states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. However in Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who was instrumental in bringing the BJP back to power in MP has been sidelined. This will lead to the Congress winning more seats in Madhya Pradesh. In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar also, the BJP will not be able to repeat its earlier performance and the Congress will gain.

How do you rate the preparations of the Congress in the elections at the national level to take on the BJP?

The Congress party is united this time and has done proper groundwork. This was not the case six months ago. The Congress has settled all its differences and is now fighting the elections unitedly in a more cohesive manner. This is necessary for the country because if the BJP comes back to power, they will change the Constitution. Power has gone to the head of the BJP and PM Modi is trying to take the country towards the Presidential form of government like in the US.

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