AIADMK general secretary and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Monday announced her party’s support for senior BJP leader and National Democratic Alliance (NDA) nominee Jaswant Singh, in the Vice-Presidential election.

Talking to reporters at her Poes Garden residence here, Ms. Jayalalithaa said there were two reasons for the support to the senior BJP leader, who called on her and sought her support for his candidature.

“The first reason is my personal regard for Jaswant Singhji. Our association goes back 28 years. I know him personally from the days when both of us were in the Rajya Sabha from 1984 onwards. So it is a mark of my personal esteem and regard for him, the AIADMK has decided to support his candidature.”

The second and important reason was her firm belief that “if you were to have true democracy, there has to be Opposition in the country. Simply because the candidate put up by the ruling dispensation appears to have a winning chance, it does not mean one should not contest this election. So it is mainly to reinforce my strong belief, principle and conviction that in a democracy there has to be an Opposition. We are making our opposition known and felt and that is why the AIADMK has decided to support the candidature of Jaswant Singh.”

Mr Singh said personally and as a nominee of the NDA he was indebted to Ms. Jayalalithaa for her support.

Asked about the decision of the Biju Janata Dal to boycott the election, he said it was that party’s decision.

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