interview | L. Ganesan Tamil Nadu

BJP’s backing will help AIADMK, says L. Ganesan

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We have a strong support base in southern districts, says ex-BJP State unit president

The BJP did not pressure the AIADMK into seeking its support for the upcoming bypolls to the Nanguneri and Vikravandi Assembly constituencies, and the support of the ruling party at the Centre was not formally sought for the Vellore byelection as the candidate did not belong to the AIADMK, former BJP State president L. Ganesan has said. He is also of the view that the banner culture in Tamil Nadu has gone beyond acceptable limits and needs to be controlled. Excerpts:

Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar recently came to the BJP’s State headquarters to formally seek the party’s support for the Nanguneri and Vikravandi Assembly bypolls. Initially, the AIADMK was accused of ignoring the BJP. What led to this turnaround?

For the bypoll, as a formality, he came and invited us to cooperate, and we agreed. That’s all. This happens whenever there is an election and an alliance. It happened even when we were in alliance with the DMK. There’s nothing new [in this].

But the AIADMK did not formally seek the BJP’s support for the election to the Vellore Lok Sabha seat...

The Vellore election is a different matter. We were busy with our organisational election [at the time]. Also, the candidate (A.C. Shanmugam) was not an AIADMK member. He belongs to a different party — his own party. For that, the AIADMK did not need to come to our office. In these two [Nanguneri and Vikravandi] bypolls, the AIADMK has its own candidates.

Will the BJP’s campaign help the AIADMK in these two constituencies?

It will definitely help the AIADMK to win the elections. That’s why they have asked for our support. In Nanguneri in particular, we have a strong hold. The BJP and the RSS wield influence in all southern districts. In Nanguneri in particular, we have got our own strength. People from other parties in that area have joined us. Whether or not they [AIADMK] ask us for support, we are very particular to see a ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’ (Congress-free India). To defeat the Congress candidate (and therefore work for the AIADMK’s success) is the duty of every BJP candidate.

Did the BJP exert pressure on the AIADMK to formally seek its support? Last week, [BJP leader] Pon. Radhakrishnan told us that the AIADMK had not sought its support.

That might have been the situation then. They subsequently met [BJP leader] Muralidhar Rao, and then everything changed. There is no urgency in this. Don’t make much ado about nothing.

Do you think the alliance will last till the local body polls or the next Assembly election?

First, let the bypolls get over. We are meeting daily.

AIADMK leader and former Law Minister C. Ponnaiyan has said a case must be filed ‘only against the wind’ in connection with Subasri’s death, which was caused by a banner put up by an AIADMK cadre. What’s your position on this?

Let us not make a big issue of this statement. Let the law take its own course. There’s a case in court.

On the banner issue, the AIADMK went to court seeking permission to put up banners for the Narendra Modi-Xi Jinping summit…

A government putting up a banner is an entirely different matter. That will not be like this (the banner that caused Subasri’s death). They will follow all the norms. Only in Tamil Nadu, there is a culture of putting up banners. The practice is followed not only by the AIADMK and the DMK, but other parties too. Whatever it is, I feel very sorry for Subasri and her family. I hope there’s a full-stop to the banner culture

But Subasri’s mother recently requested Mr. Modi to put an end to the banner culture...

This is not such a big issue that it needs the Prime Minister’s intervention. This is a State problem. In the BJP, we are not following the banner culture anywhere in the country. I have been to a lot of States in India. I have not seen this sort of a banner culture anywhere.

So will you not put up banners for the visit?

We won’t be able to compete with them. This is one of the things we have picked up from the State parties. But we will be the first party to implement the court order.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 6:58:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/bjps-backing-will-help-aiadmk/article29612737.ece

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