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Jayavardhan blames BJP for AIADMK’s 2019 defeat

In an interview to Shanmugha Sundaram J, the former MP, representing the fishermen community, hit out at the BJP for raking up the Katchatheevu issue

Jayavardhan blames BJP for AIADMK’s 2019 defeat

J Jayavardhan

CHENNAI: An early bird in electioneering, AIADMK candidate for Chennai South constituency J Jayavardhan exuded confidence of emerging victorious in the April 19 polls. In an interview to Shanmugha Sundaram J, the former MP, representing the fishermen community, hit out at the BJP for raking up the Katchatheevu issue and said they had shrugged off the issue all these years and are raking it up now for electoral gain. He also squarely blamed the BJP for AIADMK’s massive defeat in 2019 Lok Sabah polls

When senior party leaders refrained from contesting the polls fearing defeat due to the political climate, you have exhibited keenness to contest the polls and even started the election preparation works ahead of the announcement of the polls. Are you confident of your prospects?

• While being an MP, I brought the National Centre for Ageing and ESI Hospital to the constituency and I took efforts to speed up the CMRL project by calling upon Union Ministers and top officials in the central government. Even as a non-MP, I continued to follow up the projects in my constituency like the MRTS and kept in touch with the people, who appreciate my work. So, I approached our party general secretary (Edappadi K Palaniswami) with full confidence and asked for an opportunity to contest.

I started the campaign ahead of the DMK candidate. I held meetings with party cadre and booth level functionaries and briefed them on what are the issues to be taken to the people during the campaigns. Ahead of that, I started a social media campaign and uploaded videos on various issues pertaining to the constituency and failure of the DMK MP.

What key issues are you raising in the campaigns?

• People are well aware about the issues and skyrocketing prices of essential commodities. At the end of the month, they exhaust their savings. Unlike the AIADMK regime, the present DMK government has increased electricity tariff, milk price and hiked property, water and other taxes to add onto their burdens. Ultimately, people are losing all their savings. So, people will express their anger in the polls.

Are you completely blaming the state for inflation? Or is it the Union government’s duty to control inflation?

• No. There are multiple factors that lead to inflation. I blame the BJP government at the Center and the DMK government at the state for this. They are least bothered about the people. Our former CM (J Jayalalithaa) had a vision and created a corpus fund to check the price hike of essential commodities. Using the fund, the AIADMK government procured essential commodities at market price and gave them at a lower price for the people. This kind of approach is lacking now.

You were fielded in 2014 and 2019 and tasted success and defeat respectively. According to you, what are your challenges and advantages you have in this poll?

• The inactive DMK MP is my advantage. She did nothing for the constituency and never reached out to the people when they needed her most. In 2022, the entire coastline was affected due to Cyclone Mandous. I visited the fishermen villages and collected their petitions and submitted them to the Collector. But, the DMK MP never stepped out of the house. She was not involved in relief measures during floods caused by Cyclone Michaung last year.

You are saying that you brought many projects to the constituency and are constantly in touch with the people. Why do you think people did not elect you in 2019?

• We lost the 2019 elections only because of the BJP. The AIADMK suffered a major defeat because of the alliance with the BJP despite its good work and governance. Meanwhile, the DMK gave many false promises such as waiver of education and farmers’ loans and also whipped up emotive issues like NEET during the elections.

Being a representative of the fishermen community, do you feel the Katchatheevu issue raked up by BJP would have an impact?

• Definitely not. It is just political rhetoric for electoral gain. It is not a new issue and everyone is well aware that the DMK-Congress gave away the islet. There is nothing new that the BJP has brought to light. Myself and several other party MPs raised the issue in zero hours and moved to call attention on the Katchatheevu issue, but the response from the Union government was that the issue was pending before the SC. They have not acted on the issue all these years. Now, they are bringing it up to politicise it and benefit in the polls. But they do not bother about fishermen at all.

What is your take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s road show? What about BJP candidate Tamilisai Soundararajan?

• It is a flop show and the PM was totally upset over it on seeing the kind of response. It exposed that the party has zero presence on the ground and does politics only on social media. Of the BJP candidates, I can say she is out of the electoral frame in April 19 polls, as her party has zero presence on the field.

What is your poll promise for your constituency, particularly to fishermen community?

• Traffic management and CMRL projects, which I started, should be completed soon. I will give top priority to make the constituency a flood-free zone by taking up necessary measures to implement flood mitigation works. For the fishermen community, I will take efforts to create infrastructure and establish a new harbour and boat landing facilities to improve the livelihood of the community.

Shanmugha Sundaram J
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