BJP to ally with par­ties keen on devel­op­ment

BJP leader says slo­gan aimed at cre­at­ing a strong party base in State

The Hindu - - FRONT PAGE - Den­nis S. Je­su­dasan

BJP State pres­i­dent Tamil­i­sai Soundarara­jan said the party would tie up with par­ties that are not part of the Con­gressDMK al­liance and which are keen on the devel­op­ment agenda of PM Naren­dra Modi.

We have formed our strat­egy for a govern­ment. But I can­not re­veal our part­ners and dis­close our strat­egy

The BJP, which once spoke of erad­i­cat­ing the Kazhagams (Dra­vid­ian par­ties) from the Tamil Nadu po­lit­i­cal map, has now, to put it in Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s words, opened its doors to “old friends”. How­ever, noth­ing has moved on the ground yet. BJP State pres­i­dent Tamil­i­sai Soundarara­jan in­sists, how­ever, that a strat­egy is be­ing worked out for the Lok Sabha polls. Ex­cerpts from an in­ter­view: The Prime Min­is­ter had said last week that the BJP’s doors were open to old friends for form­ing an al­liance in Tamil Nadu. Has any party ap­proached you as of yet?

This is not about any party ap­proach­ing [us] or any­thing. We have formed our strat­egy, which is an al­liance with par­ties that are not part of the Congress-DMK al­liance and are keen on the devel­op­ment agenda of our Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi.

Has the BJP ap­proached any party for an al­liance?

We have formed our strat­egy for a govern­ment with a devel­op­ment agenda. I can­not re­veal our part­ners and dis­close our strat­egy.

There were re­ports that the AIADMK and the BJP had agreed a 50-50% seat-shar­ing pact for the Lok Sabha polls...

We have formed our strat­egy. Some of them (me­dia) are writ­ing [re­ports] on the ba­sis of as­sump­tions.

Many ma­jor po­lit­i­cal par­ties in Tamil Nadu have taken a stand against the BJP on is­sues such as Meke­datu, Triple Talaq and 10% quota for eco­nom­i­cally back­ward sec­tions. Are you still hope­ful of par­ties ty­ing up with the BJP?

Let me ask you about the Congress al­liance. The Congress has taken a stand on the 10% quota for eco­nom­i­cally back­ward sec­tions. The DMK op­posed it, but the CPI(M) sup­ported it. So, these dif­fer­ences are there in the Congress al­liance too.

The BJP in Tamil Nadu had a cam­paign called Kazha­gan­gal illa Tamizhagam (A Kazhagam­less Tamil Nadu) dur­ing past elec­tions. Do you still stand by this?

Well, it was not for elec­tions and was put forth by our leader Pon. Rad­hakr­ish­nan. It was a slo­gan for a long-term plan for our party in Tamil Nadu. It was aimed at cre­at­ing a strong base for the party in the State.

Ac­tor Ra­jinikanth had once in­di­cated that Mr. Modi was a strong leader. Do you have plans to in­vite him for your cam­paign?

We al­ways in­vite like-minded peo­ple. If Mr. Ra­jinikanth joins our cam­paign, we will be happy.

Does your high com­mand con­sult the State unit on al­liance for­ma­tion?

Our party lead­er­ship will take our opin­ion too and de­cide on al­liances. Our lead­er­ship had asked [for] our opin­ion and I have given my opin­ion.

Po­lit­i­cal par­ties have de­manded the res­ig­na­tion of Chief Min­is­ter Edap­padi K. Palaniswami in the wake of al­le­ga­tions that he had a role in the Ko­danad es­tate break-in case. What’s your party’s stand?

The Chief Min­is­ter has said that cases have been reg­is­tered in this re­gard. [DMK pres­i­dent] Stalin is only de­pressed and is mak­ing all kinds of claims.

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