In an exclusive interview to The News Minute on Sunday, DMK chief MK Stalin stated that the results of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu will not be based on 'alliance arithmetic'. The statement by the Tamil Nadu Leader of Opposition comes in the wake of AIADMK posturing itself as a mega alliance with parties like the PMK, DMDK and the BJP opting to ally with them. In an interview to a Tamil channel recently, Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami had pointed out that the vote bank of the individual parties in the alliance was sure to secure them a victory.
When asked if he sees this as a possibility, Stalin said, "There is no chance for this to happen. It may seem like a large alliance but even before the day they came together, they were criticising each other. Not just criticism, their comments were derogatory and they (PMK) were alleging corruption in the government. They said these things to the people and even went to court and the Governor with evidence of corruption. They have gotten together for a political benefit, not because of ideology. They are an alliance of thieves."
When asked about his own alliance and the decision to join hands with MDMK, a party that has been critical of him, the DMK chief said the animosity was not due to ideological differences.
"When problems are based on seat sharing issues and not ideological differences, that can be mended," he told TNM.
Stalin was amongst the first regional leaders who endorsed Congress President Rahul Gandhi as a Prime Ministerial candidate. When asked why the Gandhi scion is his first choice, the DMK chief pointed to his party's long-standing relations with the national party.
"Congress is an all India party. That is why Kalaignar was the first to announce that Indira Gandhi should be Prime Minister. Then he announced that Sonia Gandhi should be Prime Minister. It is based on this that I have made this announcement," he explained. When pressed for a reason for his belief in Rahul, he said, "The manifesto released by Congress is indicative of his abilities."
The DMK has from day one opposed the National Eligibility cum Entrance test in Tamil Nadu. The party has maintained that there should be the basis but the 12th standard board exam scores for the selection of medical students. They have even promised to get rid of NEET if elected to the Parliament. The Congress manifesto, however, while promising to scrap NEET, says that an alternative state level exam will be conducted.
Stalin initially said that the Congress manifesto is a reflection of the DMK's demands as well but finally concurred to say, "We will sort out the issue after the elections."
Further, referring to the upcoming bye-election in 18 districts he alleged that the Election Commission is working hand-in-glove with the Central government to ensure that DMK does not come to power in the state.
"That is why they are delaying the elections in 3-4 more constituencies," he said. "They are afraid we will topple the AIADMK government."