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PMK wants to contest more Lok Sabha seats

Special Correspondent

Any alliance with PMK on its side wins: Anbumani Ramadoss

— Photo:S. R. Raghunathan

ALL SMILES: Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss (left) and P.S.Govindachari, president, Rotary Club of Madras, at a meeting of the club in Chennai on Tuesday.

CHENNAI: The Pattali Makkal Katchi would like to contest more Lok Sabha constituencies this time, according to Anbumani Ramadoss, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare.

“Definitely” was his reply to a reporter’s query whether there were greater chances for the PMK to contest more seats this time than in the previous elections.

The Union Minister was speaking to reporters after addressing a meeting of the Rotary Club of Madras.

[In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, the PMK contested in five constituencies in the State and one in Puducherry as a constituent of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led Democratic Progressive Alliance.]

To another question whether he would contest the elections, he responded that it was for the party to decide.

To a comment that the PMK always sided with a winning combination, Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss reacted that “it is the other way round. Because of the PMK, the alliance wins.” As for the issue of alliance, he said it would be decided by the general council of the party which would meet in “a few days.”

Prohibition

Earlier, addressing members of the Club, the Union Minister expressed concern over the increasing tendency of youth to consume liquor and emphasised the importance of sensitising them. Noting that the revenue of the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation rose by Rs. 8,000 crore in four years through sale of liquor, he said “sucking out their money and giving them free television… That’s not what they want. We do not want freebies.” He added that the youth should be provided education and employment opportunities.

Citing the example of Gujarat, the Union Minister said the State had a prohibition policy. Yet, it was “one of the most progressive States.” Industrialisation and economic progress marked Gujarat. Tamil Nadu could follow the Gujarat example. “If given a chance, we will do it,” he said.

Calling for an end to the “movie culture” prevalent in Tamil Nadu, Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss said that in the last 40 years, the State had seen Chief Ministers from the film industry. “Nowhere in the country, it is like this,” he said, clarifying that he was not arguing for a ban on film personalities entering politics. Decrying the practice of people following the celebrities blindly, he suggested that film fans’ clubs be converted into clubs for environment or sports.

Bt Brinjal

Noting that his Ministry was opposing the introduction of Bt Brinjal without long-term testing and scientific validation, he said the process of testing over a period of one year was not sufficient.

Explaining a number of initiatives taken in the last four years, including the National Rural Health Mission, the Minister said that nearly two crore women went to institutions for deliveries. Tamil Nadu was the first State to have caesarean operations in primary health centres. “Nowhere in the country is this happening,” he said.

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