BJP President J P Nadda on Saturday said the party will continue its alliance with AIADMK for the Tamil Nadu assembly elections, due in a few months. Nadda, who is on a three-day tour of the southern state, was addressing a public rally in Madurai.
Earlier in the day, the BJP chief performed a ‘puja’ and sought God’s blessings at the Meenakshi temple in Madurai. After visiting the temple, Nadda chaired a meeting of the Tamil Nadu BJP Core Committee where he discussed the poll preparations with state level leaders of the party.
On Saturday, Nadda said Prime Minister Narendra Modi facilitated projects like the defence corridor for Tamil Nadu while the state was ‘ignored’ during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance regime. Praising Tamil as the world’s oldest language, Nadda, who is here on a one day visit, said when the right person assumed the right place, it led to right decisions.
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed the top office, a ‘safe destiny’ was assured for the nation and Tamil Nadu as well, he said. Be it projects like the defence corridor or allocation of funds for Tamil Nadu, the situation changed only after the BJP came to power at the Centre, he said.
Nadda recalled that Modi had quoted a couplet from ‘Tirukkural’ to soldiers at Ladakh and also cited the Prime Minister’s ‘Yaadum Oorey’ reference of Tamil poet Kaniyan Poongundranar in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in 2019. Dwelling on Tamil, he said the Tamil people had a unique combination of entrepreneurship, economic and cultural ethos.
The BJP top leader’s Tamil pitch assumes significance Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had some days back alleged that the saffron party had no respect for Tamil language and culture. Nadda praised Madurai as a ‘pious land,’ home of Goddess Meenakshi and recalled the link the temple city has with Mahatma Gandhi, who decided to use only dhoti during his visit here.
BJP Tamil Nadu unit chief L Murugan said it was his party’s Vetri ‘Vetri Vel’ yatra that prompted DMK president M K Stalin to ‘hold a Vel’ days ago. ‘Vel’ is the spear-like weapon of Lord Muruga and the saffron party had last year held a ‘Vel yatra’ in Tamil Nadu.
Accusing the DMK of double standards, Murugan alleged that the then Chief Minister M Karunanidhi was a mute spectator when Tamils were killed in 2009 in the civil war in Sri Lanka. The party gave a standing ovation to Nadda for the AIIMS Hospital project for Madurai by the Centre.
Earlier, when the BJP national chief arrived at the venue of the public meeting, he was greeted with slogans of ‘Vetri Vel, Veera Vel.” An ancient war cry, it denotes victory and valour with Lord Muruga’s ‘Vel.’
Nadda, who arrived here last night, was accorded a warm welcome by party cadres. He visited the famous Meenakshi temple, garlanded a statue of freedom fighter Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar and chaired a core committee meeting of the party.
Tamil Nadu Ministers R B Udhayakumar and Sellur Raju called on Nadda, according to the party, which described it as a courtesy visit. The top leader in the core panel meet deliberated on constituencies in Tamil Nadu with winning chances and asked the state leadership to focus more on such segments.
Nadda also addressed social media volunteers and interacted with noted personalities who joined the party recently. On Sunday, the BJP chief would visit Puducherry.
Former public works minister and ex-Congress leader from the union territory, A Namasivayam joined the Saffron party days ago in Delhi.
This is the second time in January when the BJP President has visited poll-bound Tamil Nadu. He had earlier visited the southern state on January 14 to participate in the ‘Namma Ooru Pongal Vizha’ (our city Pongal festival) organised by BJP’s state unit.
The AIADMK had led the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), its constituents being the BJP, DMDK and PMK among others, in the state for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Tamil Nadu, is among the five states, which are scheduled to hold assembly elections this year.
Top AIADMK leaders — K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam — had already confirmed the party’s alliance with the BJP earlier this month. Palaniswami is the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu while Panneerselvam is his deputy.
The ruling AIADMK has endorsed Palaniswami as its CM candidate for the high-stakes Assembly polls, where the party will take on arch rival DMK in a tough electoral battle.