New Delhi, April 2 (PTI): Congress leader Karti Chidambaram on Friday dubbed Kamal Haasan a “super-NOTA” and said the actor-turned-politician’s Makkal Neethi Maiam (MNM) will not win a single seat in the Tamil Nadu Assembly polls as it is “not a sustainable political party”.
The Congress MP from Sivaganga also slammed the AIADMK-BJP alliance and said the people of Tamil Nadu do not want a government which has any “stain, scent or shadow” of the BJP as its ‘Hindi-Hindutva’ agenda “irritates” them.
In an interview with PTI, Karti Chidambaram also claimed that the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-Congress alliance will win over 200 out of the 234 Assembly seats in the single-phase April 6 polls.
“People do not want a government which will not respect Tamil sentiments, Tamil language and Tamil heritage. They do not want a government which has any stain, scent or shadow of the BJP,” Karti Chidambaram said.
The ‘Hindi-Hindutva’ agenda of the BJP “irritates” the Tamil people and they do not want the BJP in any shape or form, he asserted.
The Congress leader also claimed that despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visits to poll-bound Tamil Nadu and several top BJP leaders’ aggressive campaigning, the BJP’s “zero MLAs, zero MPs” status will remain.
“They will remain at zero MLAs and zero MPs. The Prime Minister can make as many trips as he wants to Tamil Nadu, but the BJP’s Hindi-Hindutva policies will be roundly rejected by the people,” he told PTI over phone while on the campaign trail seeking votes for the DMK-Congress alliance’s candidates.
Asked if Haasan and his outfit MNM will impact the polls, Karti Chidambaram said, “He (Haasan) is only a ‘super-NOTA’, he will not win a single seat and his is not a sustainable political party. They will only congregate for the elections and they will disperse after the elections.”
The ‘None Of The Above’ (NOTA) option on electronic voting machines, was introduced in 2013. After the Supreme Court order in 2013, the EC added the NOTA button on the EVMs as the last option on the voting panel.
On the key issues in the Tamil Nadu polls, Karti Chidambaram said the main issue was that of ten years of “non-performance” of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).
“The livelihood of the average person has not improved in Tamil Nadu. Then there is the rampant mis-governance and corruption by the AIADMK. It has favoured a few in giving out public contracts, there has been a huge siphoning of resources as well as poor quality of work by the public works department,” the 49-year-old leader said.
During the Covid times, the AIADMK did not provide direct cash transfer to the people and only gave Rs 1,000 for ration cards which was “woefully inadequate” for the lockdown period, he said.
Asked if the reported differences within AIADMK were giving the advantage to the Congress and the DMK, Karti Chidambaram said even if the party is united, people will not support the AIADMK which became “abundantly” clear during the parliamentary elections.
“Even if you add the votes of (TTV) Dhinakaran (the leader of Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam), the AIADMK would have lost,” he asserted.
Karti Chidambaram also expressed confidence that the DMK led alliance will “win handsomely” and repeat the performance of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections when the UPA won 38 out of the 39 parliamentary seats. He said the alliance will win over 200 seats in the 234-member Assembly.
Asked about the announcement of the Dadasaheb Phalke award to Rajinikath by the Centre on Thursday amid poll campaigning and its impact, the Lok Sabha MP said, “I congratulate Mr Rajinikanth for getting the award. He has had a long innings in the film industry, he should remain in the film industry and this will have absolutely no bearing on elections.”
“The BJP has been trying to ride on his (Rajinikanth’s) coat-tail for many years and this will have absolutely no impact,” he said.
On how the Congress intends to strengthen itself in the state going forward, Karti Chidambaram said he has definite ideas which can be discussed after the elections.
Single phase polling to 234 Assembly seats in Tamil Nadu is scheduled on April 6. The counting of votes will take place on May 2 along with that of Kerala, Assam, West Bengal and Puducherry polls. The Congress is contesting 25 seats in the Tamil Nadu polls.
The alliance comprising DMK, Congress and some small parties is taking on the ruling AIADMK that is facing the polls in alliance with the Pattali Makkal Katchi, the BJP, the former union minister GK Vaasan-led Tamil Maanila Congress (Moopanar) along with other smaller parties.
The MNM has been trying to position itself as the only alternative to the Dravidian majors.