DMK president M K Stalin on Saturday vowed to quit politics if he failed to prove the corruption charges against Tamil Nadu Municipal Administration Minister S P Velumani. Responding to Velumani’s challenge to prove the charges, Stalin said, “I am ready to quit politics. Are you (Velumani) ready?” The DMK chief was addressing a gram sabha meeting at Devarayapuram in Thondamuthur constituency represented by the Minister.
Referring to the memorandum submitted by the DMK to the Governor last month listing the charges against the Chief Minister E Palaniswami and his colleagues, Velumani had said he would step down from his post if the charges were proved and sought to know whether Stalin was ready to quit politics if he failed to do so. “We will not only prove the charges against the Minister but also drag him to the court of law and get him punished for his corrupt deeds…” Stalin said.
Stalin promised to order an inquiry into the death of late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa since the judicial commission constituted by the government has not submitted its report even after three years, immediately afterassuming power. The DMK leader mocked the AIADMK for announcing K Palaniswami as the chief ministerial candidate as its alliance partner BJP was yet to endorse it.
Though the state government had banned gram sabha meetings, the party was holding people’s gram sabha meetings and lauded the participation in large numbers, as they had given a big mandate to DMK in the last Lok Sabha and local body elections. Reacting to Stalin’s remarks, Velumani reiterated his resolve to resign from all posts in the government and AIADMK if the charges levelled against him were proved.
Speaking to reporters at the ESI Hospital on the sidelines of a special camp for dry run of COVID-19
vaccine, the Local Administration Minister accused the DMK chief of making corruption charges and indulging in slandering the former’s image as part of a political vendetta. Velumani said he was ready to submit his resignation from the post of MLA, minister and party posts if he was found guilty of graft.
At the same time, he said, Stalin who is spreading lies should explain whether he is ready to step down from the party post and the opposition leader’s post. “Stalin has no right to talk about corruption, and if he has courage he should accept my challenge and prove the charges,” Velumani said.
He condemned Stalin for allegedly asking his goons to silence a Dalit woman, who raised questions on DMK’s alleged failure to implement its election promises, during the people’s gram sabha meeting organised at Thondamuthur in Coimbatore. “It is not acceptable to attack a woman in my district and Stalin has to reply to this,” Velumani said.
Meanwhile, a video of the woman, said to be an AIADMK functionary who raised questions at the meeting and also talking to a Minister over the cellphone, went viral in the social media. The video purportedly shows a man handing over the phone to her and stating that the Minister was at the other end.
She narrated the incident by saying she had gone to a temple in the area and heard Stalin making unnecessary comments against Velumani. She added that because she was unable to bear it, she started raising questions.