'Leadership Style Should Change'
Veteran politician and DMDK presidium chairman Panruti S Ramachandran opened up to Express in an interview to Sruthisagar Yamunan on his perceptions about the party that he was part of for over eight years and its political journey since its inception. Excerpts:
Q. Did you convey your decision to retire from active politics to your party president Vijayakant any time before Tuesday?
A. No. I felt he might not agree and would want me to continue. My doctors wanted me to take complete rest. So I resigned on health grounds.
Q. You said your advice not to contest Delhi elections was not heeded by the party. What about the 2011 Tamil Nadu Assembly elections? Were you happy with the DMDK joining hands with the AIADMK?
A. I was instrumental in the alliance taking shape. I made an efforts for it. It benefited us and we became the main opposition.
Q. The DMDK parted ways with the AIADMK after that. Were you all right with how the break in the alliance happened?
A. The DMDK leadership thought that the party could grow only by criticising the Chief Minister. I could not go with that perception. I told the leadership that such a strategy would only help the DMK and would not benefit the DMDK.
Q. Isn’t criticism the job of the opposition party?
A. Constructive criticism is the job of the opposition. But I felt the strategy was more to corner the Chief Minister. This is something I did not agree with. The idea that you can capture power by always criticising the current government is wrong.
Q. You have said in earlier interviews that the aim of the DMDK was to become an alternative to the AIADMK and the DMK. Why then did you help making an alliance with the AIADMK?
A. I was of the opinion that the DMDK had not become strong enough to contest alone. Idealistically, it would have been the right thing to do. But politically, I was of the opinion it was not viable. The pact helped the party.
Q. The DMDK was started with the aim of becoming an alternative. Can it fulfil that role?
A. For that, the current style of leadership should change.
Q. You have invested eight years of your political life with the DMDK. Are you satisfied with the returns?
A. Politics is like agriculture. The harvest is good one year and not so the next. But farming has to go on!