D. Pandian (CPI) interview with ‘The Hindu’

How do you assess the prospects of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)-led Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA) in a multi-cornered contest?

There is bound to be a split in the voting pattern. But our experience shows that the DPA, which represents the combined strength of organised political parties, will be the major beneficiary. Multi-cornered contest will not affect our victory chances.

What is the Left's agenda for this election?

Our main concern is restoration of democratic norms and practices. If elected members are not allowed to air their views in the Assembly, then our election process becomes a farce.

Is it not true that the voice of the Left parties, as smaller partners in an electoral alliance, becomes feeble?

The voice is not decided by number. It is the substance that matters. The Left's principled political representation will definitely get the people's stamp of approval.

Do you think caste and community continue to play a role in the elections?

The menace of casteism is still very strong in Tamil Nadu. Despite social reformers campaigning for eradicating this evil system, the unfortunate reality is that community based outfits wearing political mask still exist. Our battle against them will continue even after the elections.

Unlike the situation during the Lok Sabha elections in 2004, no anti-incumbency wave is visible now…

This is true. In 2004, the fight was against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies. Now the BJP has its own front in the State. But the AIADMK Government's commissions and omissions will definitely have a bearing on the people despite its rollback measures. Further, the DPA's positive approach with some constructive economic programmes for the State's betterment will help us.

Do you think that the people in the State are averse to a coalition Government?

In Tamil Nadu, as we are all aware, parties that promoted and helped the formation of the United Progressive Alliance at the Centre do not feel that such a situation prevails here. They also say that it is premature to talk about coalitions now. This need not be made a big debating point now. If a single party is able to win adequate number of seats to form a Government on its own, it is good. We will extend our cooperation and help it from outside.

How will you ensure the implementation of the DMK's poll promises?

The DMK's election manifesto is a comprehensive and programme-oriented document. Its author is a man with rich experience and he was Chief Minister for four terms. Since he had presented the State's budget several times, he must be aware of the financial implications of implementing the poll promises. He is aware that we cannot take the people for granted.

Do you favour introduction of age ceiling for contesting elections?

Such issues should be discussed in a free and fair atmosphere where there is no election fever. The age ceiling should apply not only for elected posts but also for holding party responsibilities. We should not arrogate to ourselves more powers than what nature has bestowed on us. Lest we forget that nature is the ultimate decider.

Do you think film star Vijayakanth's entry into the election fray will have any impact?

Vijayakanth is attracting a good crowd wherever he goes. But he cannot dream of carrying the political masses with him, as the late M.G. Ramachandran did following his expulsion from the DMK.


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