BJP govt at Centre biased against Oppn-ruled states: Kanimozhi | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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BJP govt at Centre biased against Oppn-ruled states: Kanimozhi

By, Chennai
Apr 12, 2024 07:26 AM IST

In an interview with HT, Kanimozhi said the Centre is biased against the opposition ruled states and has sought to use governors to control them

DMK’s deputy general secretary, K Kanomizhi entered the Lok Sabha in 2019 from Thoothukudi after being a two term Rajya Sabha MP. This constituency survived unprecedented flooding last December, an event that is being used by rival parties to score political points. The DMK government has alleged that the Union government has not released funds for flood-hit districts and the Bharatiya Janata Party has accused the state government of not doing enough to mitigate floods.

DMK’s deputy general secretary, K Kanomizhi entered the Lok Sabha in 2019 from Thoothukudi after being a two term Rajya Sabha MP. (HT Photo)
DMK’s deputy general secretary, K Kanomizhi entered the Lok Sabha in 2019 from Thoothukudi after being a two term Rajya Sabha MP. (HT Photo)

In an interview, Kanimozhi said the Centre is biased against the opposition ruled states and has sought to use governors to control them. She claimed that the BJP has brought up the Katchatheevu issue to divert attention from what is going on in Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh on the Indo-China border. Edited Excerpts:

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This election is a test of your incumbency in Thoothukudi and three years of your party DMK’s governance. You dealt with unprecedented rainfall and flooding last December. What is the reception on the ground to your campaign?

I’m receiving a good response. I’ve been travelling to quite a few constituencies. I think there is a lot of impact of government schemes especially the Kalaignar Magalir Urimai Thittam (Entitlement for Women of 1,000 every month) and for the free bus scheme (for women) and more importantly for breakfast (for 16 lakh students) and the assistance for students who go to college. People are very happy about it and when you talk about these schemes, the response is really good. So, I think people are very happy with the government and have a lot of confidence in the Chief Minister. I think that reflects in my constituency also. It looks positive so far.

You are the DMK’s face in Delhi. What issues is the Tamil Nadu government facing, being a non-BJP ruled state against a BJP-led Union government?

We didn’t get any relief when we had natural disasters. The money that the state is owed from the Central pool is not given for schemes and projects like the Chennai metro project (phase 2). I can go on and on about the money being allotted to the state and not being released.

Two weeks ago, Delhi HC admitted CBI’s plea challenging your acquittal from 2017 along with others in the 2G case. What you have to say to this?

There is no doubt that opposition is being stifled. Quite a few opposition leaders are in jail. I think over 90% of the cases by the Enforcement Directorate, Income Tax and CBI are against the opposition leaders. We have two chief ministers (one former CM and one serving CM) and one (former) deputy chief minister in jail. Even with Mr Senthil Balaji (a DMK leader), his bail has been denied 31 times. That’s what has happened to our case (2G) also. And Congress’ accounts were frozen (by the I-T department). All this is putting pressure on the opposition. There is no denying it. And interestingly, after you become an ally of the BJP or you switch over to the BJP , the case disappears.

One ex minister Senthil Balaji is in jail and the Madras High Court has taken up revision cases against the acquittal and discharge of other DMK sitting ministers. Won’t it be a setback for DMK?

No, I actually think that the DMK and opposition has become stronger because of these cases. Because people also understand that it is not done in the normal course and are aware that those in power are going out of their way to do things like this. This is just to instil fear in the opposition.

Do you think the BJP is gaining traction in Tamil Nadu?

I cannot deny that they are working very hard here. They won a few seats in the assembly elections (four in 2021) and that is because of the AIADMK (their then ally). I don’t think the BJP on its own can really win any seats here because of their ideology and (because) they do not respect people’s sentiments here. When Mr Annamalai (BJP’s Tamil Nadu president) insults the agitation over imposition of Hindi he’s insulting the entire Tamil Nadu because people from so many families have participated (in the agitations). And people have lost lives and made a lot of sacrifices to protect our identity. So, he is insulting an entire state.

What is your response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi targeting the DMK-Congress of being anti-women and the BJP of being for nari shakti (women power).

I don’t think the BJP has any rights to talk about women’s rights. I think around 44 of their MPs have cases against them because of violence and sexual violence against women and children. We saw the way the protesting wrestlers were treated and how the accused MP (from the BJP) was not even questioned. We saw what happened in Manipur. And every time when a woman is raped, BJP leaders question “why was she there, why do women wear these clothes”. When I raised questions and a private member bill twice in the Parliament about criminalising marital rapes, I received the same reply twice. The Union government said that it is against the tradition and culture of this country to criminalise marital rape. And the BJP is talking about respecting women?

The BJP has blamed the DMK-Congress combine and your father, late M Karunanidhi for ceding Katchatheevu in 1974.

BJP has just brought it up because people are questioning them about what is going on in the Arunachal Pradesh and China border. They’ve entered into our land and thousands of square kilometres of land have been taken up by Chinese incursions. They have come into many of the border states. The BJP government’s relationship with all the countries around India is quite bad. So just to divert all this they’ve brought up Katchatheevu. And that’s exactly what they always do. You remember what happened with Pulwama in February ahead of the 2019 parliamentary elections. Now they’re trying to bring up something else to hide what’s happening in our borders.

You were one of the DMK first leaders to speak on abolishing the Governor’s post. The DMK’s manifesto committee led by you has promised that state governments will be consulted in the appointment of Governors.

Because we are an elected government and the Governor who holds just a constitutional post cannot override what an elected government wants. The Governor has to sign whatever resolution is passed in the assembly within a reasonable period of time. And everywhere where there are issues with Governors, it is only in non-BJP ruled states. BJP is not just trying to control us but they have a stranglehold on the state government.

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