In his first television interview after becoming the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, MK Stalin hinted at a post-poll alliance in the 2024 general elections, saying that the party aimed to sweep 40 parliamentary constituencies in Tamil Nadu (39) and Puducherry (1). The interview, conducted by News18 Tamil Nadu’s editor Karthigaichelvan, aired on the regional news channel at 8 am on Tuesday, September 20. Stalin stated that he was in touch with Rahul Gandhi and with regional leaders like Nitish Kumar, KCR and Arvind Kejriwal. “I have asked the party cadres to work to sweep 40 seats in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. My party will be in a position to drive an anti-BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) coalition to power.”
Asked whether he would prefer to be the king or king-maker in the 2024 general elections like Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) supremo and his father, M Karunanidhi, used to be, Stalin replied, “My father used to say one should be aware of one’s stature. I am aware of mine.” Speaking on future alliances, he said he was in touch with several leaders in the country who opposed the BJP, and will decide on the future course of action based on election trends at that time. He, however, ruled out any future with the BJP stating that “…there won’t be any compromise with the BJP.”
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Speaking on the schemes implemented in TN after he became CM, Stalin said, “After I became CM, I signed five important schemes. The free bus travel for women passengers scheme has enabled women to save up to Rs 2,000 per month and the number of women going to work has increased. It evolved as a revolutionary scheme and I can see how happy they are about it,” he said. He also mentioned the Moovalur Ramamirtham Ammaiyar Higher Education Assurance Scheme (in which all girl students from classes 6 to 12 receive Rs 1,000 per month directly into their bank accounts until completion of undergraduate degree, diploma or ITI course) and the free breakfast scheme for government school students from class 1 to 5 as the other significant projects that he signed.
Unlike TN stalwarts like CN Annadurai and Karunanidhi, Stalin termed his regime the ‘Dravidian Model’, whereas his predecessors called it Anna governance and Karunanidhi governance respectively. Stating that it symbolises equality and inclusivity, he highlighted the fact that the Dravidian model is nothing but a combination of the governance styles of Annadurai and Karunanidhi.
When asked about the hike in power tariff and property tax, the CM said that electricity tariff in TN was far cheaper when compared to other states. It said it has no impact on poor and middle class families and that the decision was taken after the Union government asked the state many times to increase the tariff. “The move to increase the tariff was due to the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government’s administrative negligence and mounting debts of the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) in the last 10 years,” he further added.