Tamil Maanila Congress (Moopanar) leader rejects opinion polls predicting a win for the DMK-led alliance
Tamil Maanila Congress (Moopanar) leader G.K. Vasan, in an interview, rejected opinion polls predicting a win for the DMK-led alliance in the Assembly election. An ally of the AIADMK, he insisted that people believe the government has delivered on its promises. Edited excerpts:
In the 2016 Assembly election and the last Parliamentary election, you were firm that the TMC must contest on an independent symbol. Now you have compromised on it and agreed to contest on the AIADMK’s ‘two leaves’ symbol. Why?
The TMC’s preferred symbol has been the ‘cycle’ [which it first got in 1996]. We have been trying very hard to get this symbol from the Election Commission of India and the court, but did not succeed. We had to fight till the last minute for getting the symbol.
Candidates should not encounter difficulties because of this, and we don’t want to waste our seats and potential, [for which] we have had to move to the prominent symbol of the alliance partner so that we [can] enter the Assembly.
During seat sharing talks, you were insisting till the last minute that you want 12 seats. Why did you settle for six?
All parties don’t get the seats they want. Ultimately, in an alliance, we have to settle for a number that is favourable for both parties so that the alliance starts moving in the right direction towards the election.
Did you explore the possibility of the TMC being part of an alternative front?
That was not needed this time as we were clearly in the AIADMK alliance from 2019. The TMC was the first party to support the Chief Ministerial candidate [Edappadi K. Palaniswami] when his name was announced by the Deputy Chief Minister.
What role do you think the MNM, the AMMK and the Naam Tamizhar Katchi will play this election?
In previous elections, these parties have registered a percentage of votes. I am not underestimating them. Their vote share may go up or down a little.
Hence, a big impact may not be possible.
What gives you the confidence that the AIADMK-led NDA will win this election?
The alliance today seems to be a popular winning alliance. In 10 years of governance, its welfare schemes and development projects have reached the people, from cities to villages. People believe the government as it has done what it promised.
All opinion polls have predicted a win for the DMK-led alliance…
Opinion polls are not the final poll, as public opinion keeps changing till people cast their votes.
Opposition parties are accusing the AIADMK of being subservient to the BJP. Is there a basis to that?
Any ruling party has the responsibility, which the Opposition does not — it is answerable to the people for welfare schemes, law and order and receiving funds from the Central government for various initiatives. Hence, maintaining a striking balance with the Centre is essential, which the AIADMK has been doing. Unfortunately, this responsibility is not there for the DMK, and hence, it opposes the ruling government and makes such accusations.
What is your primary charge against the DMK?
They have not been in power for 10 years. Before that too, they never got enough numbers.
I don’t want to accuse them personally. Let the people judge as I am not an AIADMK member, but only an alliance partner.
Prices of fuel and LPG have gone up significantly. But BJP leaders say that this will not have an impact on the election…
Price rise is a concern and I know the sentiments of the people. People will also understand that price rise is a temporary issue, and the government will bring it back to normalcy.
Unfortunately, it is happening during the election, and [we hope] the people will believe us and vote for us.
In the TMC’s manifesto, you have promised full prohibition. But the AIADMK government failed to take steps towards this…
Every party has its own goal and being in an alliance, we cannot leave out our goals in our manifesto. After coming to power, full prohibition may not be possible immediately. But we want it to be done in a phased manner.
How do you see the State government’s administration after the demise of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa?
After her death, the State government, under the leadership of Mr. Palaniswami, did extremely well in the last four years, particularly in handling the pandemic, its consequent economic crisis and cyclone rehabilitation.
How do you see the overall scenario in the State?
After 10 years of the AIADMK government, I see a lot of enthusiasm among the people in greeting the alliance parties.
It shows that anti-incumbency, which the DMK talks about after 10 years, is considerably low.