'Our party, not BJP, head of NDA in Tamil Nadu': AIADMK's Jayakumar

Interview with D. Jayakumar, organising secretary, AIADMK

30-D-Jayakumar D. Jayakumar

Q Has the BJP-AIADMK alliance hit a rough patch after state BJP chief said that former chief minister [J. Jayalalithaa] was convicted for corruption?

A Our leader and mentor Amma is no more. It is unnecessary to talk about her. That is why we condemned it. Then state BJP leaders apologised for it. It was reported in the media. So the matter is over now. The alliance is going well.

Q Recently, Home Minister Amit Shah set a target of 25 seats. How do you see the prospects?

A All leaders encourage their partymen through such remarks. He said that the alliance would get 25 seats, not the BJP alone. In Tamil Nadu, the NDA will be led by the AIADMK. In Delhi, it is the BJP-led alliance. So, all allies will contest under the AIADMK. The BJP is not the head of the alliance here, only our party is.

Q Which parties comprise the NDA in Tamil Nadu?

A Now, it is the AIADMK and the BJP. Anything is possible in politics. Some (parties) in the DMK-led alliance may come to us. This is likely to happen close to the elections, as has happened in the past.

Q What will be the seat-sharing formula, as the BJP may ask for more seats?

A There is no complication. We know about all parties and their strengths. When elections are announced, we will constitute a committee for seat allocation. Parties will ask for seats, but we have to satisfy our partymen, too. It will be decided by the committee, but it will not impact our party or partymen.

Q The BJP may want all AIADMK factions, be it the O. Panneerselvam or T.T.V. Dhinakaran camps, to come together to avoid division of votes.

A Our general council unanimously ousted Panneerselvam and some others from the party. They are not with the party now. Our party is doing well under Edappadi Palaniswami.

Q The BJP is wooing Tamil Nadu through cultural exchanges like Kashi-Tamil Sangamam and installing the sengol inside Parliament. How do you reconcile with their hindutva push?

A We have a saying in Tamil that the Tamil language is a sweet language and Tamil culture is the best. So when our culture is taken to other people, we appreciate it.

Q Sometimes, there are remarks against the Dravidian ideology. How do you see it?

A We condemn it. Their policies and principles are different from our policy and principles. Our alliance is only for election purposes. We draw our policies and principles from Periyar, Anna and Amma. We are firm on our policies.

Q What are the main grievances against the DMK government?

A Under Amma, we ran a people’s government. We used to give money (Rs25,000 to Rs50,000) and 8g gold to girls getting married. But this government stopped it. The DMK made a lot of elections promises, like Rs1,000 [monthly assistance] for [1 crore women], but it has not been implemented. Law and order has collapsed. The DMK government is represented by 3Cs―corruption, commission and collection. DMK members are disseminating justice instead of civil courts. The poor are suffering. They promised to set up a committee under economists. Though eight people were appointed, nothing has come of it.