AIADMK’s candidate for Saidapet and former minister C. Ponnaiyan who has been one of the founding members of the AIADMK, in an exclusive interview to J.V. Siva Prasanna Kumar, talks about various issues including his poll assurance of building houses for the people living on banks of Adyar river and other waterbodies. The excerpts…
Q You would have been more comfortable in Tiruchengode. Was Saidapet your choice or was this constituency thrust on you?
Both Tiruchengode and Saidapet are very very comfortable for me. No problem at all. It will be cake walk for me. Our’s is a democratic party. Applicants are interviewed and honourable Amma selects the competent applicant.
Q Don’t you think Saidapet is among the toughest constituencies in the state as far as the AIADMK is concerned, as the area had suffered badly during the rain-floods in less than five months ago?
I don’t think so. Saidapet, as far as I am concerned, is the easiest constituency where I will have a clean sweep.
Q Do you think the people of Saidapet, particularly the literate and the middle-class who got the worst deal even in accessing government relief, will forget that horror and forgive the ruling party when they go to the poll booths on May 16?
The so-called nightmarish floods were not the acts of the AIADMK. They were an act of god. People of Saidapet are very analytical and have scientific approach to any issue they confront. The act of god has resulted in hurtful problems but the lightening positive acts of honourable Amma has considerably and swiftly mitigated all sorts of sufferings undergone by the people. CM madam has pressed into service thousands of vehicles besides manpower drawn from various parts of the state and had the garbage cleared in no time. Apart from preventing the spread of communicable diseases, she provided financial aid and relief on time.
Q Your adversary, Ma Su of the DMK, appears confident. Your comment.
A false and malicious campaign is being carried out by the main opposition as if flood relief work has not been attended to. I started my campaign from the flood-hit areas including Koturpuram and I was greeted by scores of women who had overwhelmingly thanked the CM for taking timely relief and rescue operation when Chennai was inundated. They told me that they are alive only because of the prompt intervention and gesture of Amma.
Q What is the main thrust of your campaign in Saidapet? How are you handling the campaign here?
I will ensure the construction of houses in safe spots for the poor people living on the vulnerable areas of flooding, especially on the banks of Adyar river. Pumping stations would be provided in low lying areas to avert the problem of sewage blockage, will have small buses introduced in Saidapet, form more SHG, extend subsidy to strengthen the livelihood opportunities of the poor, soft loans to unorganised workers, construction workers and auto drivers and petty traders. I am confident of emerging victorious.
Q It is an open secret that in the AIADMK, nothing moves without Amma’s nod and anyone, however mighty, could be dumped at her whim. You were a victim too sometime ago - was MGR’s minister throughout and Amma’s finance minister too before being dropped during the May 2006 Assembly elections, and then you were brought back as the AIADMK political advisor in January 2008. How do you look at this element of uncertainty for even top-ranking leaders in the AIADMK?
There is no uncertainty in the AIADMK. There is no difference in the functioning of the AIADMK in MGR’s era or now under our Amma. She is very positive in her approach and management of government and party as well. She is highly spiritual and benevolent personality who forgives everyone.
Q As an astute politician, what is your prediction in this election?
Truly speaking, backed by the welfare initiatives and pro-poor schemes, which are unheard of in the country, which are our CM’s unique achievements will make her sweep the polls. People in all the 234 Assembly constituencies wholeheartedly desire that she dorns the CM’s again and rule from Fort St. George.