M K Stalin, younger son of DMK president M Karunanidhi, has clearly left his stamp on recent party decisions, such as discussions with allies, selection of candidates and reportedly snuffing of a backroom effort to align with the Congress. Excerpts from an e-mail interview to The Indian Express:
M Karunanidhi had praised Narendra Modi as a hard worker and a good friend. What is your opinion? Will the 2002 riots be an issue this election?
He believes in addressing even his rivals in a civilised manner, and replied to a question on Modi’s political experience in that vein. In this election, just as the BJP will campaign on his positives, his rivals will focus on the negatives.
Opinion polls give the NDA an edge. What is your view?
Is this the first time opinion polls are favouring the NDA? The media had predicted victory for the BJP-led front based on such polls in 2004 and 2009, too. But the people decided otherwise. Beyond national issues, the situation in each state will be reflected in this general election.
Are you open to providing support to the NDA post-poll?
We want a union government that is secular, that respects the interests of the states. So there is no space for speculation.
What is you opinion about Rahul Gandhi as PM candidate?
But he has not yet been officially announced as the candidate. He has been given charge to lead in the election, and I extend him my greetings.
Is your opposition to an alliance with the Congress a unanimous party opinion? Do you rule out a post-poll alliance too?
The general council of the party was unanimous about not having an alliance with Congress. The election results will be in favour of the party. After that, a government in favour of the state’s interests will be formed at the Centre.
How do you see the prospects of the third front?
In many elections when there were speculations and unexpected twists, like in 1989, 1996, 1999, 2004, Karunanidhi was instrumental in forming good governments. When the result of this election comes out, he will be in a position to decide who will rule India.
Would you invite the Left parties to the DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance?
Our president has already said they would be welcomed if they come.
What do you think of the Centre’s efforts to address the problems of Sri Lankan Tamils?
At the time of the final war in Eelam, Karunanidhi, then CM, took several efforts to stop the conflict. Following that, the DMK and the Tamil Eelam continued…
Sources said Ashish Khetan will be the vice-chairman of the commission.