CHENNAI: BJP national president Amit Shah on Sunday declared that the National Democratic Alliance led by his party in Tamil Nadu was intact and would name its chief ministerial candidate before entering the poll fray in 2016.
The announcement came on a day when DMK leader, actor and former union minister D Napoleon ‘SMSed’ his way into the saffron party with the “blessings of M K Alagiri”.
Shah’s crowded press conference in the city saw him reiterating the Modi government’s achievements on several fronts in the last six months and the BJP’s position on controversial issues like conversion. But it was his unequivocal remarks on the fate of the ‘rainbow alliance’ in Tamil Nadu, which had become a question mark after the recent MDMK walkout, and his party’s stand vis-a-vis the ruling AIADMK in the State that seemed to clear much of the political air.
Dismissing suggestions that the BJP was soft on the AIADMK government and had some secret understanding with it, Shah quipped: “There is nothing called indirect alliance in politics. Whatever alliance we have, it will be known and come out in the press. Even yesterday, our BJP leaders strongly criticised the Tamil Nadu government in the public meeting.” The State was passing through a crisis, he added. “Due to Congress-led misrule in the Centre and the bad governance of DMK and AIADMK in the State, it has suffered in terms of growth and development.”
He was, however, quick to stress that he was not criticising the Dravidian parties, but only the performance of their governments.
“Whenever there is an alliance, parties will come and go,” he said to a query on the MDMK quitting the NDA. “There will be differences of opinion. But the NDA, in its present form, will continue and perform well.”
Shah pointed out that the BJP’s online membership campaign was underway and the party would enrol 60 lakh new members. It would emerge as the largest political outfit in the State in 2016 and lead the alliance during the next Assembly elections. “We will announce the NDA chief ministerial candidate before the polls,” he said.
Asked about his party MLAs allegedly threatening voters and businessmen, he said the disciplinary committee would look into the issue.
The climax to Shah’s press meet was DMK leader Napoleon’s entry into the BJP and his effusive praise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership. Napoleon was close to M K Alagiri, son of DMK chief M Karunanidhi. When Alagiri was dismissed from the DMK this year, Napolean had found himself sidelined. “There is no inner-party democracy in the DMK. I was feeling suffocated. I found my hands tied when I became a minister,” he said adding that Alagiri gave his blessings when he conveyed his desire to join the BJP.