Party general council will hold further discussions before firming up the alliance

Driven by the twin objectives of removing the Congress-led UPA from power and preventing the formation of a government with the support of the Congress at the Centre, the MDMK will be part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), MDMK general secretary Vaiko said on Wednesday.

During his New Year Day interaction with the media, Mr. Vaiko said he held preliminary talks with the BJP high command, including its president Rajnath Singh, in New Delhi. The MDMK general council on February 4 would have further discussions before firming up the alliance.

Describing the Lok Sabha polls as a defining moment in the Indian political history, Mr. Vaiko said the Congress would be routed and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi would become the Prime Minister. “There is a wave in favour of Mr. Modi in the country,” he said.

Mr. Vaiko said the party’s stand was akin to that of the Akali Dal in Punjab, which had a lot of differences with the BJP, but agreed to join hands with it to prevent the Congress from coming to power. “I also held a discussion with Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal,” he said.

Mr. Vaiko said while he was very firm on defeating the “spineless” Congress, which he alleged, was responsible for the killing of Tamils in Sri Lanka, he also wanted to ensure that a political alliance with the support of the Congress was not allowed to come to power as it would be operated by the Congress.

Asked whether the BJP would support the stand of the MDMK for creation of a separate Tamil Eelam, he said there was no need for a political party to support all the programmes of another political party.

“We have agreed to disagree. This is the core principle of an alliance. The greatest danger today in the country is the Congress that betrayed the interests of the Tamils," he said.

Asked how he could join hands with the BJP, especially when its Prime Ministerial candidate Mr. Modi, had not expressed regret for the Gujarat riots, Mr. Vaiko said Mr. Modi had already made a statement on the 2002 riots. “I applauded him for his open-mindedness.”

Mr. Vaiko, however, declined to comment when asked whether he would seek an apology from Mr. Modi. “I will talk about these issues once we finalise the alliance,” he said. He also said both his party and the BJP had not set pre-conditions for forming the alliance.

Sethu project

Mr. Vaiko, a strong advocate of the Sethusamudram project, said his party had decided to reconsider its stand on the issue in the wake of environment considerations.

“The issues were not there when the project was conceived. After the submission of Pachauri committee report, we have to take into consideration the livelihood of fishermen and other environment issues,” he added.

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