Chennai: DMK working president MK Stalin on Sunday alleged that the BJP-led central government was making all efforts to make India a theocratic state.
He also pitched for opposition unity and committing to work alongside like-minded parties.
“The BJP regime at the Centre is struggling to make India a theocratic state and they are making all efforts for it,” he said at an event to celebrate the 94th birthday of his father and DMK chief MKarunanidhi and completion of his 60 years as an MLA.
Stalin alleged that in a planned fashion the BJP was trying to bring in “religious leaders,” to head the states and this “should not be forgotten”.
He said to end the “autocratic rule” of the BJP and upholding democracy in India was the biggest challenge now.
Had Karunanidhi been active now, he would have been the first person to raise his voice against the Centre. “In the struggle to protect India, he would have guided us,” Stalin said.
For DMK, ideals and goals were the key, and not power, he said and recalled the dismissal of his party’s government in 1976 due to opposition to the Emergency and later in 1991.
Asking if the Centre had fulfilled its electoral promises, he said it has not done it.
He questioned the Central government over a range of issues including “lack of job creation,” not bringing back black money from abroad, cattle ban issue, Hindi imposition, demonetisation and not increasing farmers income.
He said “we are not dolls” to dance to the tune of the Centre and the idea to “remove thorny woods” was to bring up a “garden.”
Accusing the BJP of trying to decimate the opposition in view of it having a majority, he said all moves were being made now to make the country a “saffron nation”.
“Let us unite to usher in a secular government,” he said and pledged his party’s support against the BJP regime and warned the Centre not to lead to another “independence movement”.
He said people were prepared to oppose the Centre and parties should unite to usher in true state autonomy and uphold values like secularism.
On the three-year regime of BJP government, he asked if the Centre was worried about the people’s problems or in solving them.
“In three years, nothing has been done and they did not bother about anything. To hide it, measures like demonetisation and cattle ban are being done,” Stalin said.
He praised Karunanidhi for being one of those instrumental in the making of several prime ministers like Indira Gandhi, AB Vajpayee, Manmohan Singh, Deve Gowda, and IK Gujral and even presidents.
“He was a beacon who decided the direction of national politics,” Stalin said.
Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Stalin recalled how he got permission immediately to meet VP Singh when he was prime minister, “now you cannot get permission (to meet PM Modi).”
Without naming the BJP or its state unit chief Tamilisai Soundararajan, he made a veiled attack against the party and her for making some criticism with regard to Karunanidhi’s birthday and diamond jubilee event.
Stalin hailed Karunanidhi for winning elections consecutively, for steering the party for 48 long years and being chief minister for about 19 years in his five stints.
Regretting that Karunanidhi could not participate in the event, he said they tried to bring the nonagenarian leader to the function.
However, since doctors advised against it due to the risk of his acquiring infection, he said the top leader could not take part in the event.
NCP leader Omar Abdullah hailed Karunanidhi’s legislative career spanning 60 years and termed it a record. He said it was “unequalled,” and he doubted if that could be matched by anyone else.
Criticising the BJP-led Centre, he said the saffron party first wanted a country sans Congress, then an India without opposition.
He said BJP could never have “India without Congress or opposition.”
Referring to leaders on the dais which included from the DMK, the NCP and the JD(U), he said they will oppose the saffron party tooth and nail and uphold the constitution in sync with the dream of the nation’s founding fathers and leaders like Karunanidhi.
He slammed the BJP regime for the ‘drastically’ falling GDP, its “anti-people, anti-constitutional, anti-labour, and other policies against farmers and the poor.”
Pointing to DMK and other parties, he said, “In your struggle we are with you and in our struggle be with us.” The NCP leader traced his family’s long links beginning with his grandfather Sheik Abdullah who was jailed in Tamil Nadu.
CPI leader D Raja hit out at the “communal, fascist ideology,” of the BJP and hailed Karunanidhi for his staunch opposition to such ideals.
Those present on the dais included Rahul Gandhi, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, left leaders Sitaram Yechury, Sudhakar Reddy and NC leader Omar Abdullah.
Leaders and cadres of the DMK, the Congress and other allies of the main opposition party including the Indian Union Muslim League participated in the well-attended meeting at the YMCA grounds at Royapettah here.
A replica of the Fort St George, which houses the state legislative assembly and the seat of power of the Tamil Nadu government formed the backdrop of the public meeting to signify Karunanidhi’s 60 years as a legislator.
Images of Karunanidhi through the years were prominently featured symbolising his long journey from his humble origins to becoming chief minister.