An open letter each by two of Tamil Nadu’s key opposition leaders, both aspiring CMs, has set off election moves in the state, which goes to polls in a year.
On Saturday, M K Stalin, the DMK’s treasurer and potential CM-designate, wrote an open letter to Chief Minister O Panneerselvam calling him a ‘CM without an office’. On Monday, Anbumani Ramadoss, PMK leader and the CM candidate of his party, came up with a letter of his own, questioning Stalin’s credibility and right to question Panneerselvam. Raising a number of issues including corruption and inter-state matters, Ramadoss asked Stalin whether he has any moral right to question the ruling AIADMK as both Dravidian parties were equally responsible for reducing the state to a “mess”.
In his letter to the CM on Saturday, Stalin wrote: “You (Panneerselvam) are interested only in the welfare of your leader. Have you and your ministerial colleagues no sense of responsibility? Do you not realise that people had voted for you with hopes in their heart for a better future for them, their sons and daughters? Have you no sense of shame or regret for letting them down, for destroying their lives and their children’s future, all for the sake of your convicted leader?”
Ramadoss, a former Union health minister and son of PMK founder S Ramadoss, wrote to Stalin that it was the DMK that started corruption in Tamil Nadu while the AIADMK has taken it to the next level in a “grand manner”.
“The DMK scion must not think that people would have forgotten the administrative irregularities and corruption just because the party had been on a 46-month ‘exile’ as the opposition. It is a fact that Tamil Nadu’s destruction history cannot be written without DMK,” Ramadoss wrote.
Again, Stalin had written to the CM: “There used to be a time when the biggest companies, the top brands and the most respected industrial houses were keen to come to a healthy and vibrant Tamil Nadu. But today, Tamil Nadu is in the ICU and its falling vital signs are a cause for extreme concern.” Stalin’s letter added that AIADMK rule has damaged the image of Tamil Nadu from being “one of the top three investment destinations in India to one of the top three states from which companies are running away in desperation”.
Ramadoss, in turn, alleged it has been the “follies” committed by the DMK, including a failure in implementing prohibition and doing nothing to augment the state’s electricity supply, that have put the state in serious trouble for the past few years.
Although the purpose of Ramadoss’s letter was to attack Stalin, he also targeted the AIADMK. When the DMK, the main opposition party, had allowed DMDK leader and NDA ally Vijayakanth to lead an all-party delegation to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week to discuss a number of issues, including the Mekedatu dam and the Tirupati killing of 20 Tamils, the PMK was the only party that was not invited in the state delegation.
Responding to Ramadoss’s letter, a senior DMK leader said there may be two reasons for the former to have attacked the DMK. “One is that we are still reluctant to have the PMK in the poll alliance; it will be the last option before us because it will make many other smaller parties unhappy,” the DMK leader said. “Another reason is fact that they had to set the stage in advance as they have already announced their CM candidate while still in a state of confusion, and have failed to a strike a deal with any major party in the state. Nobody wants to touch them. So we would rather ignore his letter.”