Chennai, Dec 28 (PTI): Tamil Nadu CM and DMK president M K Stalin on Wednesday said he does not believe that ally Congress has lost its relevance or importance at the national level, and batted for a “national alliance” that also includes the grand old party to take on the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
“Congress getting back on track is what India needs now,” Stalin said, adding the party is on the path of “resurgence”.
Stalin also heaped praise on “brother” Rahul Gandhi, saying he is the “ideal antidote” to the BJP’s “parochial” politics.
In an exclusive interview to PTI, Stalin said it was important to form a “national alliance” to fight the BJP to safeguard the independent functioning of the country’s constitutional institutions.
The remarks also came on a day when the Congress observed its 138th foundation day.
The DMK chief said the Tamil Nadu model of a strong regional party’s alliance with the national party at the state level is a model that can be replicated in other states across the country.
Rahul Gandhi fights the BJP not only on electoral lines, but also on ideological lines, he said, adding the Congress leader’s Bharat Jodo Yatra has become a “huge sensation” among people.
In a symbolic gesture to mark the commencement of the Yatra in Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu on September 7, Stalin had handed over the national flag to Rahul Gandhi.
Stalin also said that efforts made by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to strengthen the party’s organisational structure have started to yield benefits.
Following are brief excerpts from the interview.
Q. Apart from Himachal Pradesh, the Congress has maintained a very poor showing electorally in the recently held elections in the country. What do you think is the reason for the Indian National Congress Party’s declining political prospects?
A. I do not reckon that the Congress party has lost its relevance or importance at the national level. The efforts taken by Sonia Gandhi to strengthen the organisational structure of Congress have started to yield benefits. Senior leader (Mallikarjun) Kharge leads the party to resurgence with his vast experience. The Bharat Jodo Yatra of brother Rahul Gandhi has become a huge sensation among people. It is creating a visible impact across the Union. The morale of the Congress Party cadre is at a new high. Congress getting back on track is what India needs now.
Q. You have unequivocally backed Rahul Gandhi’s political leadership. Do you think Rahul Gandhi could have played a more significant role in campaigning for his party in the Gujarat elections? Do you believe that Rahul Gandhi could lead the Congress party at a national level to emerge as a strong opposition to the BJP?
A. I find Rahul Gandhi as a promising young leader. Senior leaders like P Chidambaram have analysed the performance of Congress in Gujarat election results and expressed their comments.
The arguments Rahul Gandhi puts forth in Parliament are rock-solid. He has a crystal-clear approach on many pertinent issues. He understands that the diverse nature of India is what protects its integrity. He opposes the politics of communal hatred and the domination of ‘one language’.
These qualities make him the ideal antidote to BJP’s parochial politics. Rahul Gandhi fights BJP not only on electoral lines, but also on ideological lines. This is why Rahul is being targeted by BJP. It actually shows his strength.
Q. How do you think an electoral alliance with the Congress party has helped the DMK so far? Will DMK’s alliance with Congress continue in future elections? More specifically in the upcoming Parliamentary elections in 2024?
A. We strongly feel that our Constitution must be safeguarded. There should not be any dilution on the core values and principles that our founding fathers have handed over to us. We, who want our constitutional institutions to function independently, propose for a national alliance that includes the Indian National Congress. The DMK in Tamil Nadu has already formed such an alliance and made it a successful model to implement elsewhere.