In this fireside chat with DT Next, Senapathy explains the lost connect between Dravidian movement and western Tamil Nadu and the roadmap to make inroads into the AIADMK bastion.
From a campaigner for Jallikattu, you have become a spokesman of social justice, Dravidian movement and member of DMK. Why?
DMK has been the crusader of social justice and ideological leader of Dravidian movement. AIADMK has followed suit always. RSS and BJP talk mostly about the DMK despite it not being in power for 10 years because of its core values. AIADMK is the root cause of all troubles here. We all know how the Narendra Modi led BJP regime has been ruining the federal structure of the country. But, I will only blame Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami because he gave opportunity to the BJP to ruin the state. Be it rise in gold loan interest, farm laws, EWS quota, NEET or the GAIL pipeline, EB transmission line and Salem-Chennai road project land issues, only the DMK has been steadfastly opposing the projects.
Electorally, DMK is struggling in Kongu region despite these issues. Why?
My plan is to explain the good work done by the DMK. I think DMK has a policy of not trumpeting its achievements. Now, we are forced to explain it to the people. The three per cent reservation for Arundathiyars is a case in point. It helped them get employment. Reservation was also given to some 40 and odd communities, including Kongu Vellalar community by Kalaignar in 1974. But, the community has not used it like their counterparts in other parts of the state.
Would it be fair to say they didn’t use reservation?
They used it for education, but not for employment. Kongu Vellalars and Mukkulathors among the OBCs are the biggest losers of NEET. Roughly, some 10,450 seats have been lost by them. Both the CM and his Deputy belong to the communities. What did they do? We will tell that to people.
How does AIADMK manage to win community support albeit NEET, farmers’ issues?
We must explain the dangers of having community figureheads to the people. People there should be taught how western TN was in the forefront of the Dravidian movement. Periyar hails from Erode. DMK was formed under the chairmanship of Pethampalayam Palanisamy of Palladam. Periyar had appointed Arjunan Mandradiyar treasurer of DK at the age of 19. Sadly, grandchildren of such pioneers seem to have lost the connect. They have not understood the importance of social justice.
Why did Dravidian hinterland turn into right wing turf in the recent decades?
Except Chennai, Western TN has seen the highest development in social development indexes since the 1960s. People there don’t need the intervention of the government for growth anymore. They began to assume that they developed on their own and they are educated in private schools. Where did their parents and grandparents study is something they should ponder over. Sadly, right wing organisations spread their tentacles. The entrepreneurs and officers in the west should keep in mind that they developed because of social justice and Dravidian movement.
How do you intend to overcome the AIADMK influence and strengthen the DMK in west?
Last year Lok Sabha election has proven that west is not an AIADMK bastion. DMK had a comfortable margin in Chief Minister’s native, SP Velumani’s Thondamuthur and P Thangamani’s Namakkal seats. We have been releasing videos called “Dravidam Arivom” to let people know what the Dravidian movement has done to the communities. Organisations like RSS have instilled the thought that reservation was against OBCs to create a divide between land holding OBCs and Scheduled castes. OBCs start assuming that their jobs have been lost to SC/STs, who only constitute 18 + 1 % quota. Instead of worrying about what they lose to NEET and EWS, they assume that SC/STs take their jobs. When they realize it, they will return to the DMK.