Flaying DMK leader M K Stalin’s remarks that the Palaniswami government was a ‘proxy regime’ of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ruling AIADMK faction today said he was making such remarks only for political mileage. “It is a wrong statement. He is making such statements only to make political gains,” Finance Minister D Jayakumar told reporters. He said various issues plaguing the state like the Cauvery water dispute or that related to the ceding of Katchatheevu islet could have been permanently solved, had the DMK taken steps during their 17-year alliance with the UPA government at the Centre, but they did nothing.
“When they were in the UPA alliance for 17 years, they could have got permanent solutions for several issues concerning the state like Cauvery water dispute and ceding of Katchatheevu islet. But they did not do anything,” he said. Jayakumar was responding to a question on comments by DMK working president Stalin, who had dubbed the Palaniswami government as Modi’s “proxy regime,” and claimed it was not fighting to secure the Tamil Nadu’s rights.
Earlier during the day, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu had slammed the DMK for terming the AIADMK regime a ‘benami’ government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking if it was right to call the DMK ‘benami’ of Congress when it was holding office under the UPA regime. “Some say it (the AIADMK government) is a benami of the Centre. Was the earlier DMK government a benami of the Congress (during UPA regime)?” Naidu had asked.
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On merger talks between the two rival factions in the AIADMK, Jayakumar said the doors for holding the talks were always open as the leaders were ready to discuss the issue “across the table”. “Even if they come for holding the talks tomorrow at the party office, we are ready to discuss. We hope they will come”, he said.
On reported remarks that former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam would seek the finance portfolio, now held by him, in case the two factions merge, Jayakumar said he was ready to give up all portfolios after getting the nod from Chief Minister K Palaniswami. “I am willing to give up all portfolios held by me for the betterment of the party and for the party’s unity, after getting the approval of Chief Minister Palaniswami,” he said.
Jayakumar currently holds the portfolios of fisheries, finance, personnel and administrative Reforms. On senior DMK Leader Durai Murugan’s comment that the AIADMK government would dissolve in six months, he said the DMK would not be able to come to power in the state “even after 60 years.”
“Forget six months… even after 60 years, the DMK will not be able to form the government. After completion of four year rule, we will face the elections again and form the government”, he said to a query. On whether the party was ready to give the post of general secretary, held by V K Sasikala, now in a jail in Bengaluru after being convicted in a disproportionate assets case, to Panneerselvam, he said, “let them (rival faction) first come for discussions”.