Former union health minister and PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss who is also the chief ministerial candidate of his party has said that PMK will become an alternative for Dravidian parties in the upcoming Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu. While speaking to Rajya Sabha TV, Ramadoss said that he would love to become the next Arvind Kejriwal of Tamil Nadu.
With Assembly elections just three months away, Ramadoss has categorically said that he will head an alliance minus the DMK and the AIADMK. He further explained by saying that he will not play a second fiddle to any party.
In a break away from the usual politics of sops in the state, Ramadoss claimed that if he came to power he will put an end to the freebies culture. He also promised to ban liquor, have a separate budget for agriculture and focus more on education and health sectors.
Ramadoss accused Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s government of being immersed in corruption. He claimed that several cases of corruption were not coming to light because the regional media blocks them out as it is hand in glove with the state government.
Here are some excerpts from the interview:
In what ways would you say that the Tamil Nadu 2016 polls will be a watershed election?
People are fed up of parties like DMK and AIADMK who have just been looting the state. Now the people want change and the biggest key to this election will be the neutral voters who will form the majority.
People are saying that you are trying to become the next Arvind Kejriwal of Tamil Nadu?
I wish I can become the Arvind Kejriwal for Tamil Nadu. My party is also promising the same change which AAP had offered. PMK which opposes AIADMK and DMK, has a large presence and will be crucial to the poll outcome in the state.
This time you are not ready to ally with the BJP in the Assembly elections. However, the scene during 2014 elections was different.
BJP is a minor force in Tamil Nadu. I will head the alliance minus DMK or AIADMK. All parties except DMK or AIADMK are welcome to join my alliance but it will be me who will head the alliance. I’m not going to go back on that.
Are you annoyed with BJP that you were denied a cabinet berth despite your win in Tamil Nadu during 2014 elections?
I have no grouse on being denied a cabinet berth. In fact I am happy that no portfolio was given to me as I can now manage more time for the upcoming Assembly polls.
What is your party offering to the people?
PMK is already drafting a shadow budget. We will be happy to have a separate budget for farmers. We are planning to ban alcohol. In fact, it will be one of the first orders that I will sign after I come to power. I will also not encourage the freebies culture and instead focus on health an education.
Analysts say Jaya’s government is neck deep in corruption but there is no evidence, only allegations. Why?
I will completely blame the media for this, especially the state media. Media’s job is to highlight the deficiencies of the government. In Tamil Nadu, the media has failed miserably on this count.
Alcohol is a very big issue in Tamil Nadu, how are you thinking of wiping out the problem?
The state is reeling under the problem of alcoholism. Liquor is the reason behind most road mishaps. The state has the highest suicide rate and also tops the crime-against-women list. All parties except the AIADMK are against alcohol. PMK will ban liquor as soon as it comes to power.
What is your party’s stand on the Tamil Eelam issue? No matter which party comes to power they are not able to deal with the problem.
PMK has been consistent on the issue. I have even gone to the United Nations with the issue but the Centre has to be prodded on the matter. Jaya’s government has not done anything. Four resolutions have been passed by the Tamil Nadu Assembly but they have all been nothing more than hogwash.
Your party was also trying to retrieve the Kachativu Island. What’s happening on that front?
This is again a very sensitive issue but parties are not serious about it. Both the state government and the Centre have not been serious about it. Until now, there hasn’t been an all-party meeting on the issue. Scores of fishermen have already died. We want to end this ego culture when we come to power.