Calling for a united front of the Congress, Left and all state parties opposed to the BJP to take on the ruling dispensation at the Centre, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK supremo M K Stalin on Friday said everyone must put aside their individual political mindsets and “come together to save India”.
He also urged the Congress to develop “principled friendship” with parties at the all-India level like the one it has with his party in Tamil Nadu.
In an exclusive interview with PTI during his three-day visit to Delhi, Mr Stalin said, “My plea is that if we want to preserve India’s diversity, federalism, democracy, secularism, equality, fraternity, state rights, education rights, we must all leave aside our individual political mindsets and unite.” “All parties must realise that unity is strength. Everyone must come together to save India,” he said.
The 69-year-old leader, who took charge as Tamil Nadu’s chief minister in May last year after a massive victory against the AIDMK-led alliance that included the BJP, further said the DMK has always been very important in national politics and it will remain so always.
A day before inaugurating a DMK office in the national capital, where a large number of top leaders from various parties are expected to be present, Stalin said, “Our importance in national politics has always been there. DMK has always been the party that plays a key role in who can become prime minister or president of the country. DMK is now the third-largest party in Parliament.” He termed it “misleading” that the opening of the new office should be seen as an indication towards the growing presence of the DMK on the national stage.
“I do not think there is a difference between state politics and national politics. National politics is the combination of the politics of states. Therefore, the two cannot be separated,” he added.
On his vociferous attack on the BJP on multiple occasions, Mr Stalin said, “Opposing the BJP is not any personal hatred of a political party. You should not think so. We criticise the policies of the BJP, not of individual persons… So all our criticisms are principled. We will do it forever…in any context.” Asked about arguments in some quarters, including by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, that regional parties should take the lead in closing ranks against the BJP due to the Congress’ decline, the Tamil Nadu chief minister said, “This opinion may be correct for some states, but would be misleading in many states.” “For me, all state parties opposing the BJP should join hands with the Congress and the Left to form a team against the BJP,” he said.
He said his party and its allies have mobilised all secular forces in Tamil Nadu and pushed the BJP to the sidelines.
“We all (allies) continue to have a policy relationship, not just during the election period, but as parties that share constituencies. That is the foundation of our success. It is my wish that the Congress party should develop such principled friendship at the all-India level. I said this while putting my brother Rahul Gandhi on stage who came to campaign in Tamil Nadu. I again urge the Congress party to focus on the formation of such teams in all states,” Mr Stalin said.
Asked where does he see the Congress in a united front against the BJP, considering the party is his ally and has a decent electoral representation in the South, Stalin said, “We did not work with Congress for any need. We work together on the basis of conceptual agreements.” On virtually all non-NDA parties alleging the misuse of central agencies in targeting the Opposition as an election tool for the BJP, he said, “It is true that the central government uses organisations within its jurisdiction for political purposes. Everyone knows that — sometimes indirectly and sometimes directly.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)