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‘An ocean of difference between Vajpayee and Modi’: TTV Dhinakaran

Man of the moment in Tamil Nadu, Amma Makkal Munntera Kazhagam (AMMK)’s TTV Dhinakaran speaks to Hindustan Times in the midst of his campaign at Mudukulathur, a dusty town in Ramanathapuram district.

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 14, 2019 09:34 IST
MC Rajan
MC Rajan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
TTV Dhinakaran,lok sabha,narendra modi
TTV Dhinakaran leader of Amma Makkal Munntera Kazhagam (AMMK) party. (PTI)

Man of the moment in Tamil Nadu, Amma Makkal Munntera Kazhagam (AMMK)’s TTV Dhinakaran speaks to Hindustan Times in the midst of his campaign at Mudukulathur, a dusty town in Ramanathapuram district. Edited excerpts:

Many poll surveys consistently place your party at third spot in the state behind the AIADMK-BJP alliance and the DMK-Congress combine. What will the post-poll scenario be?

These days, every opinion poll has a hidden agenda, which is quite evident. As far as Tamil Nadu is concerned, these surveys are used as a ploy to belittle the AMMK... In Chennai, the AIADMK is contesting only in South Chennai. Unlike these two parties which you call dominant ones, we are contesting in all the seats while leaving only one to our ally, the SDPI [Social Democratic Party of India]. We are confident of winning the 40 LS seats, including Puducherry, and all assembly segments, including Thattanchavadi in Puducherry. It will be a repeat of what Amma had accomplished in 2014, with the slogan “Whom do you want, Modi of Gujarat or this Lady achiever?”

There is a view that your primary aim is not to win but to split the AIADMK vote.

That is a coloured view since we have fielded experienced candidates and we have groundswell of support among the electorate. There is no scope for national parties as the people of the state do not prefer them. As such, we are the alternative to the AIADMK under EPS-OPS and the DMK.

Your family’s confrontation with the BJP began to spill out in the open only after VK Sasikala attempted to become the Chief Minister. Are you trying to occupy an anti-BJP platform only because of the cases against you and your family members?

We are being targeted. No denying that. But, I am opposed to the BJP’s divisive politics and Hindutva ideology. Modi’s autocratic style of functioning is antithetical to parliamentary democracy. There is an ocean of difference between Vajpayee and Modi. Moreover, communalism is a poison and till I am in politics, there won’t be any understanding with the BJP.

What about your choice of prime minister?

Only a secular leader could become the Prime Minister. It could be either a Mamata Banerjee or Mayawati or any other senior leader. The BJP is on its way out. But, it is very clear that the Congress will not be able to muster absolute majority in this elections. A government comprising the Congress and regional parties appears very much possible.

Who is your constituency?

I have the same constituency nurtured by MGR [MG Ramachandran] and Amma [J Jayalalithaa]. Further, the youth is flocking to us. In contrast, DMK is deprived of support from the youth.

If victory in RK Nagar bypoll was your peak in politics, subsequently, there have been only setbacks. 18 MLAs supporting you were disqualified, you lost the case for the AIADMK’s iconic “Two Leaves” symbol and had to wage legal battle to secure a common symbol. The AIADMK, which have formed a credible alliance.

We have suffered a setback in the legal battle. The alliance cobbled together by AIADMK-BJP is a bunch of discredited parties. In politics 4+3 is not always 7, as it may turn out to be zero. And that is what is in store for them, for they have shamelessly joined hands with those who scorned Amma

First Published: Apr 14, 2019 07:38 IST