Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is visiting Tiruchi on Thursday at a time when the saffron party is seeking to gain acceptability among political parties in Tamil Nadu.
While the two major Dravidian parties—the DMK and the AIADMK—part of the BJP-led NDA before leaving it, still have reservations about going to the polls in the company of the BJP, their off-shoots like the MDMK led by Vaiko, desperate to unseat the Congress, and the DMDK led by actor Vijayakant, who is keen on providing an alternative, would not mind an alliance with the BJP.
“If these parties feel that an alliance with the BJP will alienate their support base among the minorities they are wrong. Poll surveys show that the BJP’s strength has increased by 10 per cent and it is enough to offset the loss to be caused by minority votes,” said H. Raja, State vice-president of the BJP.
The BJP-led NDA won 30 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu in the 1998 general elections when it had the AIADMK in its fold. When the BJP faced the elections a year later in the company of the DMK, which replaced the AIADMK in the NDA, it won 26 seats.
“This clearly shows that the minority votes do not make a difference for an electoral alliance. Telugu Desam Party leader Chandrababu Naidu had reservations about supporting the BJP in 1996 on the ground that the Left parties were with him and his party could lose the minority support base. When he realised that the BJP’s support base could compensate the loss, he switched his loyalty to us,” said Mr. Raja.
Tamilaruvi Manian, a former Congressman and founder, Gandhiya Makkal Iyakkam, who is working towards bringing together a broad-based alliance against the Congress-led UPA, said even though the BJP continued to be unacceptable to Tamil Nadu parties, the country had no choice other than Mr. Modi to remove the Congress from power.
“Mr Modi enjoys good support among the middle class, elite, youth and students and the BJP is likely to get up to 15 per cent. This figure can spell magic when put together with the vote bank of the MDMK and DMDK,” said Mr. Manian, who had already met Mr. Vaiko, Mr. Vijayakant and BJP leaders to create an alternative front in Tamil Nadu.
Mr. Manian argued that both Mr. Vaiko and Mr. Vijayakant could get the seats of their choice if they formed a front with the BJP and this would not be possible either with the AIADMK or DMK front. “The Congress is in bad shape in Tamil Nadu after the UPA government let down the Sri Lankan Tamils. It will be a liability to any party that joins hands with the Congress. I have explained it to Mr Vijayakant clearly,” he said.
While the MDMK district secretaries meeting has resolved to work against the UPA in the election, the DMDK is yet to spell out its approach.