The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam will stick to its coalition partners in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, party supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin told News18 Tamil Nadu in an exclusive interview. The DMK president, however, hinted that the party would keep its post-poll options open, but categorically ruled out entering into any electoral understanding with the BJP.
Speaking exclusively to News18 Tamil Nadu, Stalin, who came to power last year, expressed confidence that the DMK would win all 40 Lok Sabha seats from the state in 2024 General Elections and take “pole position” to drive an anti-BJP coalition to power.
Asked if he would want to be the king or kingmaker in 2024, Stalin invoked his late father and party patriarch M Karunanidhi to reply: “My father used to say one should be aware of one’s stature. I am aware of mine.”
He, however, said the party would decide its post-poll moves “according to the scenario at the time”, but ruled out any alliance with the BJP. The Chief Minister also sidestepped a question on ally Congress’s ability to steer opposition unity, saying instead that he was in touch with all opposition leaders and that existing alliances “would be strengthened further”.
In the 2019 parliamentary elections, the DMK had trounced the AIADMK, winning 38 of the 39 seats up for grabs (elections in Vellore constituency were cancelled following cash seizures). In August that year, the DMK’s count rose to 39 with its candidate, Kathir Anand, winning the Vellore seat in deferred polling. The AIADMK’s lone MP – O Panneerselvam’s son OP Raveendranath who won from Theni – is now expelled from the party and this technically means that AIADMK does not have an elected representative in Parliament.
In the interview to News18, Stalin said he preferred his regime being referred to as the ‘Dravidian model’ that symbolises equality and inclusivity. “The Dravidian model of governance is nothing but the combination of the regimes of stalwarts CN Annadurai and M Karunanidhi,” he said.
Justifying the recent hike in power tariff, Stalin said it would have no impact on the poor and the middle class. “The move to increase power tariff was a result of the previous AIADMK government’s administrative negligence and accumulation of TANGEDCO’s debts in the last 10 years,” he said, adding that power bills in Tamil Nadu are cheaper when compared to other states.