Countering the false ‘anti-Tamil’ narrative challenge for the BJP | Chennai News
What is your game plan for TN?
I don’t see a game plan because the BJP is not here to conquer the state. A game plan only comes into play when you want to conquer. We want to win the hearts and minds of the people. We want the State Unity to be a nationalist party, not a national party like Congress where everything is run from Delhi. We want to go at the grassroots, starting with the booth level and connecting emotionally with people. We want to be a party that tackles local problems, fights for them and solves them. Only then will the Tamil Nadu BJP develop. The artificially created negativity against the BJP is not here now. People accepted Modi. So we want to strengthen the party base.
What are the challenges ahead?
When we try to do something with good intentions for the state, it is manipulated. So we want to fix this correctly first. Second, we want to be present in all 66,000 stalls in 13,000 villages. Third, we want to create more leaders in the party, as this will help it to develop faster.
How will you justify your appointment as head of state within 10 months of joining the party?
There is no need to justify. This is the party’s call. The party has given me a responsibility and I am doing it.
Was the appointment of your predecessor L Murugan to the post of Minister of State an elevation or a release for you?
TN was not represented for two years in the central cabinet. It is a great elevation for the unity of the state. Our state president (Murugan) had come the hard way and the party recognized him and did social justice.
You said you would make the BJP the first opposition party against the ruling DMK. Is the BJP ready to take the AIADMK position in the state?
We have ideological and narrative differences with the DMK. We have differences in terms of policies like the National Education Policy, the Tri-Language Policy and NEETs. So the fight is between the DMK and the BJP. The DMK is engaged in politics that is anti-Center, anti-Modi and anti-public welfare measures introduced by the Indian government. It is therefore natural that we will take the place of the main opposition party to the DMK.
How will the BJP approach the impending polls of local urban organizations? Are you going to try to test the strength of the group by going it alone or by staying true to the alliance?
Discussions on the alliance and related issues will be resumed by the party’s central parliamentary council. We have a fantastic relationship with AIADMK and its senior leadership. Let the dates be announced, and we will prepare our strategy.
Senior AIADMK leaders blamed its alliance with the BJP for the poll’s debacle, while BJP leaders blamed its ally. What is your opinion?
There are many reasons for the loss of the alliance. I felt 10 years of opposition to power, even though the PSE regime was popular and there were many other reasons behind it. But I don’t want to get caught up in the blame game. The AIADMK-BJP relationship is very strong. The rest (criticism of leaders) should be viewed as individual opinions.
You said NEET provides social justice as NCBC reported the issue that over 10,000 places reserved for BC medical education students have moved to the general category under NEET since 2017.
We did our own research. Professor P Kanagasabapathi, who is our Vice-President, reviewed the figures in detail for Tamil Nadu. Of the 29,700 medical places available in the state between 2006 and 2016, an average of 19 people among Tamil public school students were admitted. From 2016 to 2018, there was a tether issue in the implementation of NEET.
Tamil Nadu alone has translation problems (NEET questions). In 2020, TN is doing better, excluding 7.5% horizontal reserve, than the 2006-2016 model. We also will not agree with the findings of Judge AK Rajan’s panel. We will try to convince parents and explain why NEET is better in terms of merit, places and per capita fees.
If so, why are allies AIADMK and PMK asking the Union government to exempt TN from NEET?
We are allies, but we are different in terms of our founding ideologies. We respect their opinion, but it is natural that we have differences of opinion.
On the question of Mekedatu, Karnataka CM Yediyurappa after meeting the
PM said they would build the dam. How is the TN BJP unit going to do it?
I see the statement of Karnataka CM (Yediyurappa) in the same way as that of former Karnataka CM Seetharamaiah. I take them as their personal opinion. Did the TN Congress condemn it? We could agree to disagree on many issues. In this case, we do not agree with Congress and the BJP in Karnataka.
Did CM Stalin report the issue of disparity in attribution of Covid-19 vaccination to TN compared to states ruled by BJP? Will the state unit of the BJP play a role in securing the due share for TN?
The vaccine allocation is very transparent and the TN bureaucracy is involved in the decision making. It is based on a formula based on the number of Covid-19 cases, the population yet to be vaccinated and several other factors. But thanks to the leaders here who have raised doubts about the India-made vaccine which has created reluctance to vaccinate. The initial gap is still not filled, but in the last three rounds of immunization allocation TN has obtained more than the quota, which the TN Minister of Health himself accepted in Delhi. Now the CM is asking the Center to allocate from the quota, which we also support. But we will not agree that TN is discriminated against in terms of immunization allowance. It is a selective misreading of data and pure politics.
There are no big investments in the Defense Corridor project, especially in Salem and Coimbatore, while UP has seen huge progress on the project. Why this disparity?
There is no disparity. We have meetings with CODISSIA. I attended the last meeting with the association and it is progressing. But we will certainly push the Center and now we have a representative, L Murugan, to help ensure faster completion of the projects.
You are presented as the new prodigy of Amit Shah.
At BJP, no one is anyone’s wonder. It is an ideological party. This is a personal statement made by one of our officials.
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