The Bharatiya Janata Party national secretary and former Union Minister S. Thirunavukkarasar on Monday decided to resign from the party and join the Congress.
After quitting the BJP, Mr Thirunavukkarasar told The Hindu from New Delhi that he would visit the Congress headquarters in the evening and his decision to join the party would be announced in the presence of Union Ministers P. Chidambaram and Ghulam Nabi Azad and Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president K.V. Thangkabalu.
Asked about the reason behind his resignation, the former Union Minister said that in his 32-year-long stint in public life, he had always desired to be closer to people. As long as he was a follower of MGR, he was able to be in touch with the masses, “something which I missed after joining the BJP [in 2002].”
He had joined the BJP as he was attracted by the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was no longer in active politics. L.K. Advani too was on the verge of taking retirement from politics.
'BJP in the clutches of RSS'
Mr Thirunavukkarasar said the party did not endear itself to the people of the State. “During the Assembly elections [in 2006] and Parliamentary polls [in May this year], I tried my level best to change the situation. But, I was not successful,” he said, adding that the party was in the “clutches” of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
Seven years ago, the former Union Minister merged his party, MGR-ADMK, with the BJP and subsequently, he was made a Union Minister of State. Initially, he was in charge of the Shipping portfolio and later, shifted to Communications.
When the BJP fought the 2004 Lok Sabha elections together with the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), Mr Thirunavukkarasar did not contest. However, after the Lok Sabha polls, he was made a Member of Parliament from Madhya Pradesh, the post from which he resigned now. In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, he contested from the Ramanathapuram constituency on the BJP ticket and secured the third place by getting 1,28,322 votes.