Chief Minister MK Stalin in an interview to The Hindu spoke about the arrest of minister Senthil Balaji by the Enfocement Directorate (ED), Governor RN Ravi's order to dismiss him (which was later kept in abeyance) and the opposition's efforts to defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Thoughts On Governor's Dismissal Of Senthil Balaji
On being asked as to what were his thoughts on the Governor's dismissal of Balaji, he said, "The Governor’s motive is the DMK government headed by me should not run smoothly and implement welfare schemes for the people. We have achieved the distinction of making Tamil Nadu the second developed State through various schemes. The Governor is unable to stomach it.
"...He knows he does not have any power and was appointed as per the Constitution. Still he is playing a reckless game with the people of Tamil Nadu and their welfare."
On Whether Governor Ravi Was Acting As Per Directions Of The Centre
"I do not want to go into whether he is acting according to the Centre’s diktats. Irrespective of that, it is clear the Governor has no power to appoint or remove a Minister. If the Union government does not control him, it will face the anger of T.N. people."
On Reports That He Too Had Asked For Dismissal Of AIADMK Ministers While In Opposition
"Making such a demand was a political measure. But the Governor should not become a politician. He has not acted as per the Constitution."
Should The Governor Be Recalled?
"It is not just the issue of recalling Mr. Ravi from Tamil Nadu. Our stand is there is no need to have a Governor."
On The Nature Of Senthil Balaji's Arrest
"....But the I-T subjected Mr. Senthilbalaji [and his acquaintances] to raids because of political vendetta. ED arrested him in an inhuman manner.
"What is the need for a sudden arrest on a complaint filed nine years ago and lock him up in a room and torture for 18 hours? He is a Minister and participates in public functions. Why is there a hurry to lock him up and elicit a statement?
"Though he had blocks in his heart and required surgery, the ED behaved in a heartless manner and argued it was a drama. It refused to believe doctors’ diagnosis. It objected to shifting him to a private hospital. We oppose the inhuman act, selective arrest and misuse of power of the ED."
Whether He Could Have Removed Balaji On Moral Grounds
"Many MLAs, MPs and Ministers across India are facing innumerable cases. Jayalalithaa continued as Chief Minister till she was convicted.
"Election affidavits of some BJP Ministers show they are facing cases. So moral ground cannot be a one-way route. I have taken a correct stand after the BJP converted the ED as its branch to settle scores with political enemies.
"Remind yourself about how the ED was used against BJP’s political opponents and how cases were put on backburner after those politicians joined the BJP and you will appreciate my stand is correct."
On Whether He Is Being Targeted By The Centre
"Yes. It is the truth. National leaders and Chief Ministers are meeting me and I have been persuading them to come together against the BJP.
"I have rejected the suggestion that there could be a third front without the Congress. A front in which Congress is a partner alone can defeat the BJP. It has angered the BJP and it is scared of our Patna meeting.
"....The BJP will go to any extent to destroy Opposition unity. What is happening in Maharashtra is a part of its design."
On Whether The Opposition Will Be Able To Defeat The BJP Without A PM Face Like Modi
"The BJP is not projecting Mr. Modi at the national level. It is your imagination and your question stems from it.
"We still have many months. Wait and see. What an alliance requires is not a leader, but a goal.
"The principle that we will defeat the BJP, which is against democracy, secularism, social justice, federalism and the Constitution, guides our alliance."
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