Addressing the first public meeting in the Perambalur district on his capacity as DMK president M.K. Stalin made no bones about his desire to play a national role of a king-maker in the coming coming parliamentary elections.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu aimed at safeguarding the rights of the state and the country's secular fabric, Mr. Stalin said, addressing a well-attended meeting organized jointly by the DMK district units of Perambalur and Ariyalur, to condemn the anti-people policies of the Central and State governments.
At no point of time will the DMK compromise on the state rights that the Modi government has been trampling, he said. The Center, he charged, was over his brief by picking up disputes with the Supreme Court, the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Reserve Bank of India.
Mr. Stalin ridiculed Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami for moving the Supreme Court to prevent a CBI probe into corruption charges in His Highways Department. Training his guns on Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and some of the Ministers as well, Mr. Stalin said the "criminal cabinet" must be dislodged.
"The public meeting is of national importance. The meeting is to convey the DMK's commitment for the political battle to send out the fascist BJP government and corrupt AIADMK regime and the battle has begun in Perambalur, "Mr. Stalin said.
Slamming the BJP government for its 2016 demonetisation drive, Mr. Stalin asked the center if any of its four targets of curbing black money, checking corruption and circulation of fake notes, and eliminating terrorism, by withdrawing ₹ 500 (old) and ₹ 1,000 currency notes, had been achieved.
He sought to know if the Modi government had deposited at least 15, the Prime Minister had promised, in the accounts of any citizen on recovering black money stashed in other countries. "If so, I'm prepared to apologize," he said.
Describing Mr. Narendra Modi as a "Non-Resident Prime Minister", Mr. Stalin said the former had the dubious distinction of being the first Prime Minister to visit 84 countries at an expenditure of ₹ 1,484 crore of tax payer's money.
The DMK leader wondered if the sharp rise in the costs of petrol and diesel was an indicator of economic growth.
Unemployment was now at the lowest in 22 years, Mr. Stalin said, quoting a study of the Azim Premji University. The Modi government was indulging in hypocrisy on GST and Aadhaar card utilization.
DMK propaganda secretary A. Raja, and former ministers K. Ponmudi, K.N. Nehru, M.R.K. Paneerselvam and A.V. Velu were among the participants.