Is MK Stalin’s desilting drive more than just a photo-opportunity?

The DMK Working President has earlier attempted to reinvent himself in the eyes of the electorate.
Is MK Stalin’s desilting drive more than just a photo-opportunity?
Is MK Stalin’s desilting drive more than just a photo-opportunity?
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With his karai veshti folded up and a spade in hand, DMK Working President and Leader of Opposition MK Stalin was unafraid to get his hands dirty, as he inaugurated the party’s desilting drive in Trichy last month. Besides providing a photo-opportunity for the leader to showcase himself as a man of service, the campaign is also a dig at the ruling AIADMK and its efficiency in getting the job done.

And while Stalin has in the past attempted to reinvent himself in the eyes of the electorate in the run-up to the 2016 Assembly polls through his Namakku Naame campaign, it notably failed to achieve the desired results. So, is this new desilting drive an attempt, once again, to favourably position himself in the wake of the political upheaval in the state.

Calling the initiative an attempt to gain media publicity, RK Radhakrishnan, Associate Editor of Frontline pointed out, “There are defining political issues that affects any place or a country at any given point. You can either take them up or focus on the peripheral issues and pat yourself that you have done a good job. Stalin has been doing the latter.”

Observing that Chennai is on the brink of a major water crisis, he adds, “This man who has been the Mayor should know this but I do not see any concrete action from the part of the DMK. He is just trying to gain some media coverage and trying to say that this government is not doing anything.”

Radhakrishnan also argued that the issue of desilting waterbodies and tanks is usually raised in the summer, prior to the monsoon. “It is good that the opposition party is doing something but there are 100 other issues he can raise,” he said.

However, DMK claims that they have always been raising the issues of the people. “It is not that we are not raising the issue of water scarcity, we have done all that, desilting lakes is a programme to alleviate water scarcity, it can only be done when there is no water in the lake and this is the right time to do that. The government has not done that so we are doing that. We are not just another political party alone, we are also a social movement, we have been addressing the issues of the people from the grassroot,” said DMK spokesperson A Saravanan.

Denying that the campaign was about political positioning, the DMK leader said that whether Stalin is in power or not, he takes up the issues of the people. “Every birthday, he picks up issues and pursues that, two years ago, we had a huge blood donation camp and last year, he had done tree planting, he addresses all issues which needs our concentration,” said Saravanan.

Meanwhile days after Stalin kicked-off the DMK’s campaign, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami inaugurated the state government’s desilting drive on May 29, promising to desilt 2065 waterbodies at a cost of Rs 300 crore.

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