Are you on a better wicket this time because of AIADMK alliance?

Last time, despite no cases against Chidambaram family, more people voted for me. This time they are facing corruption and money laundering charges and I am sure people will not support corrupt people. Also, this constituency has been neglected by Chidambaram for nearly three decades. He has won seven elections and he also held ministerial posts. But not even one industrial project giving employment to youth has been brought to this constituency. Moreover, before he became a member of Parliament in 1984, there were 11 textile units here. Now nothing is here. Chidambaram should have ensured that the problems of those units were resolved and continued their operations. Since those units have vanished, it has robbed youth of jobs. So people have gained nothing by voting for him in the past.

What are your promises to the constituency?

The major problem of Sivaganga district is water shortage. But there is a solution. If the excess water from Mukkombu dam is diverted through Vella, Agni and Gunda rivers, more than three districts – Pudukottai, Sivaganga and Virudhunagar will be benefitted. While diversion of water will help farmers do one more crop, it will also improve ground water level in these areas so that summer periods could also be managed without any water shortages. Restoration of water bodies and diversion of excess water will be a solution for the long term. We will also undertake efforts to make Sivaganga a textile and handloom hub again, thereby creating jobs for hundreds of youth. We will create 20 training centres in the district for skill development.

There is a view that a possible split in AIADMK votes may pose a challenge to your alliance in many areas including Sivaganga. What are your views?

In 2014, the total combined votes of NDA and AIADMK was about 6.10 lakh. And the other three parties – DMK, Congress and Communist – together secured about 3.70 lakh votes. So there is a margin of 2.4 lakh. So, how much the third person could cut into our alliance? We are on a strong wicket.