The man who could become Tamil Nadu’s deputy chief minister in a fortnight, DMK treasurer and political heir of party partriach M Karunanidhi — MK Stalin has his priorities set. In an interview with KV Lakshmana, Stalin asserts the DMK government will work closely with the Narendra Modi-led Ventral government in Tamil Nadu’s interests. Excerpts:
Opinion polls have put the DMK in the lead. If your party wins, what would be the new government’s priorities?
Our state has come to a standstill and development has stagnated due to complete breakdown of governance led by an inactive chief minister. Our priority is to bring in reforms to put the state’s development and economy back on track, renew investors’ confidence to usher in growth, reduce unemployment and ensure the welfare of our farmers.
Your party had started the culture of freebies and now your manifesto does not have such promises. Why?
People today want development and not freebies – they want jobs, electricity, water and good services.
How will you find money to write-off educational loans worth Rs 16,000 crore?
The welfare of students is critical to the well-being of everyone in the state. We will mobilize additional sources of revenue to compensate for this, such as the revenue generated from new investments in the state and nationalization of sand mining and quarrying.
Tamil Nadu has of late lost to Karnataka and Andhra on investments. How are you going to win investors confidence?
We have announced a slew of reforms, such as tax holidays, for new industries. State Economic Development Board would function as a one-stop shop to assist investors on government affairs, incubation centres and rebuilding the state’s infrastructure. These are aimed at enhancing infrastructure, reducing red-tape and developing youths’ skills. We will rejig the industrial climate to win investors’ confidence.
How will you balance your friendship with the Congress in state and BJP at the Centre?
Our only aim is development of Tamil Nadu. We will work with all stakeholders, including the Union government and other political parties, to ensure we do what’s best for our people.