Jayalalithaa had charisma but EPS more accessible and efficient CM: Kadambur C Raju

INTERVIEW: Kadambur C Raju, Tamil Nadu Minister for Information and Publicity; AIADMK MLA from Kovilpatti constituency (contesting for the third time).

You have been campaigning in the constituency. What is the feedback, how strong is the anti-incumbency factor?

Kadambur C Raju: There is no anti-incumbency factor this time. Amma (the late J Jayalalithaa) led the poll battle in 2011. Her leadership was again elected in 2016 and we made a record for two consecutive victories after 32 years. There is no M Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa now. After her death, everyone thought we would not survive five years, but we proved that we could do it. We emerged as the best government in all sectors. We were the best state in fighting the pandemic too. Our CM did not take rest for a single day during the lockdown. He personally visited and monitored government programmes and Covid preventive measures in each and every district. We will be winning again.

The Thoothukudi firing, custodial deaths in Sathankulam, transfer of top officers and recently, threatening an election flying squad. You have been accused of embarrassing the government many times.

Kadambur C Raju: Baseless charges… I had no role in these incidents. Transfer of policemen are routine ones. In the custodial death case, I was helping the victim’s family. They will never raise a complaint against me. We ordered a CBI probe, arrested all accused officers. Also, I did not threaten the flying squad. All these are political allegations.

How do you compare the leadership of Jayalalithaa and Edappadi K Palaniswami?

Kadambur C Raju: There is no doubt that Tamil Nadu has never had a CM who has cleared as many files and projects as Palaniswami has. There is no doubt about that. Not to compare the two, but Palaniswami is a leader who is more accessible, maybe because he comes from a humble background… An easy, approachable leader. Amma was a leader with charisma. Nobody, no CM before Palaniswami, had initiated these many development projects in the state’s history. No CM travelled across the state as much as he did. DMK Chief M K Stalin never visited people during Covid times. He was sitting at home even when one of his MLAs died of Covid-19. The pandemic is still there but Stalin is coming to the street now because he wants to capture power.

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