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Jayavardhan bets his prospects on Modi, says Tamilachi ‘outsider’
South Chennai candidate and incumbent Member of Parliament J Jayavardhan speaks to DT Next about his poll prospects, schemes implemented by him in the constituency during his previous five-year tenure, the reason why he finds Prime Minister Modi as a strong leader and how AIADMK is going to face the election for the first time after the demise of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
BJP does not have a strong base in Tamil Nadu and its performance has even dipped below NOTA in the past. Don’t you think that an alliance with such an unpopular party would affect your chances?
Absolutely, not. People are smart and they decide based on the party and its performance. They know that the DMK and Congress combine have done more damage to the state and the people in the past. Because of this, they were routed in the past three elections.
Since minorities fear BJP, do you think that your alliance with the saffron party might force the minorities to reject you?
AIADMK always stands for the rights of minorities and will never let them down. In my constituency, members of minority communities turn out in large numbers and I have solid support from them. In fact, DMK is the party that has failed to protect the minorities. For instance, after the 1998 Coimbatore blast during the DMK regime, Muslims were viewed as terrorists and there was suspicion all around. But no such incident happened during the AIADMK regime.
In the previous Lok Sabha election, Jayalalithaa was projected as PM candidate by campaign speakers. What change do you see and how do you view PM Modi?
Keeping in mind that we always need a strong leader at the Centre, we have decided to campaign for the capable leader, that is Modi, now. It should also be noted that the Congress does not have any such leader.
This is the first major election that AIADMK is facing after the demise of Jayalalithaa? Will it be a challenge for your party?
Our former leader has trained us well on how to face the elections and we are well equipped. We will carry forward the vision and principles set by our leader and will win the elections. To be precise, no election is a challenge for us.
One of the major problems faced by the people of South Chennai constituency is the acute drinking water shortage. What steps did you take in your previous tenure to resolve the issue?
After I repeatedly insisted, the minister concerned intervened and a 150 MLD desalination plant to meet the needs of the people in my constituency. I have also obtained permission to set up a 450 MLD mega desalination plant at a cost of Rs 6,025 crore in Perur for this purpose. Once the Detailed Project Report (DPR) is completed, construction work would commence.
Pallikaranai marsh located in your constituency is alarmingly polluted as sewage water is let into the eco spot. What steps did you take to control pollution and prevent sewage water from entering the marshland?
Water from several bodies reach Pallikaranai marsh and so to prevent sewage penetration into the marsh Rs 320 crore project is being implemented. A wall has been constructed around the marsh and Rs 25 crore worth project to remove unwanted weeds is also being undertaken. Along with the projects for Pallikaranai marsh, solid waste management schemes to reduce the garbage in Perungudi dump yard are also implemented. The total worth of the projects to remove dump yard from Perungudi is being undertaken at a cost of Rs 1,500 crore and in next two to three years the dump yard will be removed.
How do you see the challenge of Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) in your constituency as they can split your votes?
AMMK is a negligible factor in my constituency and will not have any impact on my results. The same is the situation across the state and all 40 candidates contesting in AIADMK alliance will win.
Prime opposition party DMK has fielded Tamilachi Thangapandian in the constituency and she too has political roots like you. So, does she pose a threat to you?
Tamilachi is an outsider to the constituency and does not have any idea about the constituency. She is misleading the voters in her campaign. For instance, the DMK nominee says that she would construct a hospital in OMR if voted to power, but a 100-bed hospital has already been constructed in Injambakkam.