Independent MLA of Mahe assembly Constituency of Puducherry state, Dr V Ramachandran, has revealed that big money was offered to him for development of his constituency as well as personally for extending support to topple the Congress government of Puducherry. Dr Ramachandran was speaking to IANS over telephone. Excerpts from the interview:
Q: There were allegations that huge amounts of money had changed hands at Puducherry for toppling the Congress government. As an independent MLA supported by the Left, do you have any experience of this?
A: Yes, indeed. The BJP government at the Centre has used all tactics to topple the democratically elected government of Puducherry. Senior national leaders of the BJP had camped at Puducherry to lead this operation. I was also offered huge money for the development of my constituency as well as for me personally. I had categorically said a firm ‘no’ to this.
Q: How can you you that this ‘operation’ was successfully carried out at Puducherry?
A: I can say this is a curse of democracy using money, which is not acceptable. Sadly, the Congress central leadership did not do anything to prevent this and this is a failure on the part of the Congress party also.
Q: As a first-term legislator who had defeated the former Puducherry home minister in a constituency he had represented continuously for 26 years, how was your experience ?
A: I had many hopes to serve the people of my constituency after getting elected from Mahe but I can honestly say that there was lack of support from the government in development activities of Mahe and I had openly expressed my displeasure on this. However this does not mean that I will cross over to BJP-led front for some money.
Q: What are the possibilities of a non-BJP front forming the next government in Puducherry?
A: In the coming assembly elections, the BJP may not be able to do much as far as the grassroot support is taken into account. However, the BJP is trying to piggy ride on the back of some powerful communities to get a breakthrough and to rule the state, which according to me, might not happen.
Q: The powerful Vanniyar community has already extended their support to the BJP. Won’t it be a major breakthrough for the saffron camp?
A: Vanniyars are a powerful community comprising more than 30% of the population of the state. However, there are strong Vanniyar leaders who are still with the Congress party and I don’t think the Vanniyars as a community have supported the BJP in totality. The BJP is trying its best to garner the total support of Vanniyars.
Q: Are you contesting the next assembly elections?
A: I have not yet decided whether I am contesting the next assembly elections. I was dejected at the power games at Puducherry and the horse trading that took place there.