He first got noticed when Naxals opened fire at him when he was a student leader in Osmania University, Andhra Pradesh, in 1986. After long stints in ABVP, RSS and Swadeshi Jagran Manch, he joined the BJP in 2009 and was appointed the party’s national general secretary and Tamil Nadu in-charge in 2013. P Muralidhar Rao, a key architect of the NDA alliance in Tamil Nadu, speaks to R Guhambika about the poll prospects in Tamil Nadu
What can you tell us about your alliance in Tamil Nadu?
The NDA in Tamil Nadu is a first-of-its-kind alliance. BJP has been part of a coalition before. But the party playing the central role in the formation of a coalition, it is for the first time that this is happening here.
But the BJP is only a junior partner.
We lead the front because our allies Vijayakant, Ramadoss and others have accepted our leader Narendra Modi as their prime ministerial candidate. As far as seat allocation is concerned, we took into account the presence of the party and capacity of the party. Defeating the Congress at the Centre is the main goal.
The NDA is projecting itself as an alternative to the Dravidian parties. What is different about your front?
We have regionalisation of politics. There may be reasons for it. I am not criticising it. However, because of that Tamil concerns at the national level have got severely affected. Now, with the BJP at the national level and at the core of the front in Tamil Nadu, issues relating to Sri Lankan Tamils, Tamil fishermen and revival of industrialisation will be better addressed.
What is the alliance’s campaign strategy?
It will be a well-coordinated and intensive campaign. Reaching out to the maximum number of the electorate is our objective.
Is the NDA wooing DMK rebel leader M K Alagiri?
Alagiri is a popular and powerful leader. He has praised Modi. Is he an anti-social element that our leaders should not meet him?
What about your own candidature from Karim Nagar in Telangana?
We will be completing the seat-sharing talks with Telugu Desam in a day or two. Karim Nagar is my native district and I hope to make my electoral debut there.