The Tamil Nadu Government led by the DMK is facing backlash not only for its perceived poor management of the flood situation but also for its controversial remarks, including anti-north Indian statements, comments on Hinduism, and reluctance to file FIRs against those trespassing into the Madurai Zonal ED office.
A war of words has erupted between the DMK and the main opposition BJP in Tamil Nadu, with both parties accusing each other of politicising the flood relief efforts. TN BJP President Annamalai, responding to the DMK’s accusations, asserted that the Modi government did not discriminate in fund allocation during disasters. Instead, he pointed to the alleged mismanagement of funds by the Stalin government.
Annamalai accused the DMK of adopting a confrontational approach with the Centre and blamed Chief Minister Stalin for prioritising political events like the “I.N.D.I Alliance meetings” and a youth conference in Salem over flood relief efforts. The BJP leader argued that the DMK should have been proactive in responding to the flood situation rather than blaming the MET department for insufficient warnings.
Speaking to the media in Trichy on Monday, Deecmber 25, Annamalai asserted that the recent floods, coupled with existing economic conditions, have raised doubts about the resilience and capability of the DMK government. Annamalai claimed that the economic ranking of Tamil Nadu has slipped due to the policies of the DMK government, pushing it to the third spot. He predicted that more southern states would surpass Tamil Nadu in economic rankings in the future.
Countering DMK’s Fund Allocation Claims
Annamalai responded to DMK’s allegations that the Centre favoured BJP-ruled states in fund allocation during disasters. He refuted the discrimination claims, citing the example of the advance flood relief provided to Gujarat during the Tauktae cyclone. Annamalai argued that the total relief sought by Gujarat was Rs. 9,836 crores, and the Centre allocated only Rs 1,000 crores. He pointed out that similar advances were provided to non-BJP ruled states like Odisha, West Bengal, and Jharkhand during the same period.
The BJP leader accused the DMK of spreading half-truths to divert public anger from the state government. Annamalai emphasised Prime Minister Modi’s concern for the people of Tamil Nadu, citing the PM’s call to Chief Minister Stalin to inquire about the damages.
BJP MLA Vanathi Srinivasan Offers Assistance
BJP MLA Vanathi Srinivasan assured that the Union government is ready to extend the required assistance to the flood-affected areas in southern districts. She urged the state government to focus on addressing the issues instead of politicising fund allocation.
DMK’s Udhayanidhi Stalin Responds
In response to criticism from Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman about his language in public, TN Sports Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin adopted a sarcastic tone. He questioned if the term “appan” (father) is uncivil and corrected himself by addressing her as the “honourable appa of the Union Finance Minister.” Udhayanidhi accused Sitharaman of failing to see the flood as a disaster, asserting that the BJP’s one-and-a-half-year rule itself is a major disaster.
Udhayanidhi Stalin Urges Non-Politicisation of Flood Situation
Stalin urged Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan not to politicise the flood situation. He defended the DMK’s efforts, stating that the government, including ministers, MLAs, and officials, has been actively involved in rescue measures for the past 10 days. Udhayanidhi emphasised that it is not the time for politics but rather a time for concerted efforts to address the immediate challenges posed by the floods.
HR and CE Minister Sekar Babu’s Criticism of Governor Tamilisai
HR and CE Minister Sekar Babu criticized Tamil Nadu Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, suggesting that she was eyeing a Lok Sabha seat in the upcoming elections. He asserted that people would not vote for her, emphasizing that she should prioritize her role as governor over acting as the spokesperson for the state BJP.
TN Minister Mano Thangaraj Questions PM Modi’s Visit
Another TN minister, Mano Thangaraj, questioned Prime Minister Modi for not visiting the flood-affected areas in Tamil Nadu. He expressed concern over the struggles faced by the people in Chennai and southern districts and criticized the Centre for not providing an adequate share of funds. Thangaraj found fault with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s speech, stating that it added insult to injury and raised questions about the discrimination against Tamil Nadu.
CPM State Secretary K Balakrishnan Accuses Sitharaman of Vendetta Politics
CPM State Secretary K Balakrishnan accused Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of engaging in vendetta politics to turn the flood-affected people against the DMK government. Balakrishnan questioned the delay in releasing the funds sought by the state government for relief work, emphasising the need for immediate financial support. He criticised Sitharaman for making sweeping statements without visiting the flood-hit areas.
Critics Warn of Confrontational Approach Impacting State’s Interests
Political analysts and critics caution that the confrontational approach adopted by political leaders may not only harm the state’s interests but also affect the governance and future of the DMK. Some argue that it is a tactic to divert attention from the financial challenges faced by the state government, which is struggling to fulfill election promises despite raising taxes and fees. The state heavily depends on revenue from TASMAS-run liquor sales, and critics allege that the government may seek to exploit flood relief operations for financial gain.
The political exchange intensifies against the backdrop of ongoing challenges faced by the people in the flood-affected regions. The BJP and DMK continue to clash over the allocation and utilisation of funds for relief measures, with the public caught in the crossfire of political disagreements.