Karti Chidambaram, Sivaganga MP and son of former Union Minister P Chidambaram, has accused the government machinery of helping the ruling party distribute cash to voters. Alleging blatant abuse of power by the ruling parties, the Sivaganga MP predicted a 200-plus (seat) victory for the DMK-led Secular Progressive Alliance in the ensuing Assembly polls in an interview to DT Next.
Your father and you are criticising India’s stand on the UNHRC vote issue. Opposition has been using it against DMK and Congress since 2009. Will your strategy not backfire?
• They (AIADMK and BJP) obviously do not know what transpired and what efforts we took in 2009 to bring about a peaceful end and save thousands of Tamil lives in Lanka. The point is they did not support a UN resolution calling for preservation of evidence and conducting an international inquiry. To nitpick on what the Congress did and did not do is not correct. I am not in a position to completely divulge in detail the efforts we took in 2009. People of Tamil Nadu want regime change and a government which does not remain in the shadow of the BJP.
What is your assessment of the BJP campaign, particularly Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit? Will it help the NDA?
• Somebody like Ajay Bisht campaigning in Tamil Nadu is not liked by the people. The kind of politics they (BJP) practice is not liked by the people here. The BJP can try whatever it wants, but they will be rejected outright by the people of Tamil Nadu.
A host of senior BJP leaders are visiting Tamil Nadu for campaign, but Rahul Gandhi restricted his campaign to one day. Not many Congress leaders have visited TN even...
We are completely aware that state elections will be won by the state leaders. We are working on the ground. Our alliance is strong. We will win handsomely. State issues matter more in Assembly polls. People want to reject the BJP and its Hindi-Hindutva agenda.
According to you, what are the major issues of this election?
• Lack of development and improvement of the livelihood of the common man, influence of BJP in TN politics would be key issue. They (BJP led Centre) are completely decimating the federal structure of the country. They are dividing people on sectarian and religious lines. Their disastrous economic policies will also be a talking point of the election.
PM Modi had raised A Raja’s derogatory speech issue in Dharapuram. Will it echo among the voters?
• Raja’s comment is unfortunate. He expressed regret for it. His party has clarified about it. Why does the BJP talk about it? Why does the Prime Minister not talk about what happened in Pollachi and UP. Does the PM have any comment on Pollachi, which is a real incident, and custodial deaths happening in Tamil Nadu?
Do you think his campaign will not strike a chord with the people?
• Nothing the BJP tries will strike a chord. The people of TN have decided that there should be a regime change. They do not want BJP or AIADMK. The DMK-led alliance will secure a handsome victory.
Complaints of cash for votes are pouring in from across the state in the last few days. Will it change the scenario?
• This is a tactic of the AIADMK. It is their last resort. That too will not have any impact. They are doing it with the connivance of officials.
Do you accuse the government machinery of working for the ruling party?
• Completely! I don’t think that they are neutral. Look at the way the officials are behaving. They are constantly raiding opposition party members. Everybody knows the government machinery is completely misused by the AIADMK, particularly in cash distribution.
What do you think would be the MLA tally of your alliance, especially Congress?
• We will secure a handsome victory. It will be a repeat of 1996 or 2019. Congress will win 20+ seats for sure. If it’s a repeat of 2019, we will win 218 seats. If it’s 1996, we will win 227 seats.