In his first sit-down interview ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami told News 18 Tamil that the BJP will return to power in the Centre with a thumping majority. He further maintained that the AIADMK alliance, which comprises the BJP and the PMK as well, will win all 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu.
The Chief Minister who has been extensively campaigning across the state touched upon several important issues and criticisms that his party has been facing over the last two years, since the death of J Jayalalithaa. Speaking to senior editor Gunasekhar, CM Palaniswami pointed out that the opposition lacked the consensus that the National Democratic Alliance had over the Prime Ministerial candidate.
“BJP will get a majority by itself in this election. Have all the opposition candidates even come together and chosen a Prime Minister candidate?” asked the CM. “Stalin is saying he wants Rahul but has Chandrababu Naidu said that? Mamata Banerjee held a massive rally and they said they will decide the PM after the elections. Stalin was there too. Then in Uttar Pradesh you have Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati. They have not said who they see as the PM candidate. All of them believe they can be PM. But BJP allies have unanimously named Modi. People also want a single leader. But opposition is naming multiple leaders. So there is no unison there,” he alleged.
When asked how this decision to ally with the BJP will benefit Tamil Nadu, he said it improves Tamil Nadu’s chances of fulfilling various schemes.
“When BJP comes to power, there will be a lot of schemes fulfilled for Tamil Nadu. There are better chances of getting financial assistance. Centre and state can work on the same lines. Then only we can develop. That is why we are in alliance,” he stated.
When asked if the alliance with BJP will weaken the AIADMK’s chances or improve it, the CM said he believed in each party’s vote bank.
“AIADMK has a certain vote share, PMK has a certain vote share and so does BJP and DMDK,” he said, confident that his calculations will lead to victory.
He, however, denied allegations that his government is a puppet of the BJP.
“The opposition is making this observation. The AIADMK has not been pushed into such a situation. The centre nor the PM has made us do anything. After Puratchi Thalaivi Jayalalithaa’s death, they want to bring disrepute to the AIADMK and the government. That is why they are saying such things. We condemn this. This government has not acted in any way that can be faulted, so they resort to this.”