In his first episode of ‘Speaking for India’ podcast series, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK President M.K. Stalin on Monday said the INDIA alliance must win the 2024 elections to prevent the country from falling prey to religious hatred and violence “like in Manipur and Haryana.” Stalin also accused the BJP of inciting the fire of religious sentiments and basking in the “warmth of its fiery flames.”
“The purpose of this podcast series is that I, Muthuvel Karunanidhi Stalin, as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, and leader of DMK, the third-largest party in the Parliament and most importantly, as someone who is one among you, want to speak for India,” Stalin said launching his podcast series, as a representative voice of the south.
In the eight-minute video, Stalin came down heavily on the BJP, its religious sentiments, the Gujarat model of governance, BJP’s actions against the Public Sector Units (PSUs) and for usurping the financial autonomy of the states by not allocating the GST share properly. “In 2002, BJP sowed the seeds of violence and hatred in Gujarat. In 2023, the sectarian fire ignited in the northeastern state of Manipur saw the state burn. In Haryana, the fire of religious fanaticism is claiming the lives and property of innocent people. If we don't put an end to this right now, no one can save India and Indians.”
Accusing the BJP government in Centre, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, of not fulfilling its poll promises, especially with regard to people welfare schemes, Stalin said, “The welfare of the entire country has been reduced to the welfare of a few.” He said Modi’s promise to retrieve black money and deposit Rs.15 lakh in the account of every Indian, guaranteed employment to 2 crore people still remain “tall tales”.
He also accused the BJP of destroying and dismantling the strong Public sector networks; he pointed out how the government-owned Air India has now been privatised. He contended that the airports and sea ports all over India have been transferred into the hands of BJP’s “corporate friends” by misuse of power. Stating that Prime Minister Modi’s promise of doubling the income of farmers is far from fulfilled, Stalin charged that the living standards of the poor and downtrodden haven't become better either.
Pointing out that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has usurped the financial rights of the states, the Chief Minister said Tamil Nadu has lost its right to financial autonomy. “Despite repeated requests by the States to extend the GST compensation for another two years, the Union government paid no heed to this,” he added.
“Tamil Nadu gives a huge amount of funds annually to the Union government through taxes. At the same time, for every rupee paid as tax revenue to the Union government, only 29 paise was returned to the State. From 2014, till last year, the tax paid by our State to the Indian government was Rs 5.16 lakh crore. But, in return, all we got was Rs 2.8 lakh crore,” Stalin said.
Stating that the BJP is using religion as their weapon to hide all its shortcomings, Stalin said, “If we don't put an end to this right now, no one can save India and Indians. An India where social justice, secular politics, socialism, equity, social harmony, state autonomy, federalism, and unity in diversity thrive in its full glory is the real India.”.
“We have formed the INDIA alliance to restore such an India. It is this INDIA alliance that is going to save India,” Stalin added.
Apparently, Stalin’s podcast series had been launched as a prelude to the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, where Stalin will spearhead the campaign against the BJP and for the INDIA alliance. As a man who had emerged out of his father M. Karunanidhi’s shadow, in the past two years, Stalin has positioned himself as a leader from the south, who opposes the BJP and can take on its leaders.