Chennai: With a friendly government in place in TN and with the opposition DMK carrying “the image of discredit and taint of corruption,” the BJP views the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as a watershed in achieving its “South Mission” goal of ensuring the lotus bloom in atleast 136 constituencies.
“Now the situation has become more conducive for us to establish the BJP in TN…people should understand that Prime Minister Narendra Modiji is working in the spirit of saint Thiruvalluvar's saying on good governance,” said BJP national general secretary P. Muralidhar Rao in an interview to JV Siva Prasanna Kumar. The excerpts…
Q: What are BJP's plans to expand its presence in southern states, especially TN and Kerala, where 2014 Lok Sabha polls have not given encouraging results?
The main focus of BJP is “South Mission” in 2019 elections targeting 136 seats including 39 in TN and lone seat in Puducherry. This is a very big block also involving AP, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala and Andaman and Lakshadweep. The area for deep penetration and scope to win maximum seats is more as we have many advantages. The plan is to marshal all our resources and invest completely to establish BJP.
Q: In south both TN and Kerala had always let BJP down..
Now the situation is more conducive in entire south. The old players and leaders who had directed and controlled political affairs have disappeared or become weak. There is greater receptivity among people for BJP. The greatest advantage is PM Modiji's leadership and also BJP's ability to deliver corruption-free governance. This is enhancing the appeal of BJP.
Q: Will your strategy also include TN Assembly where BJP has no representation at all?
Hundred per cent it will help us. There is good response from established leadership and new entrants in political field. Leaders are eager to join BJP and are in touch with us. In coming months the only party which is going to grow in TN and Kerala is BJP, all others are in declining stage.
Q: You may have a friend the AIADMK but is DMK not a formidable political adversary?
The problem with DMK is its vote base and recruitment among youth has not increased. It is working with only limited base. New sections are not adding to DMK. They have failed in creating a new appeal to satisfy the aspiration of new voters. The image of discredit and taint of corruption are badly hurting DMK in this critical hour.
Q: The BJP's experiment on aligning with caste outfits failed to evoke response from TN electorate in the past. Will it grow on its own?
BJP is working on a new roadmap. In the past, people who fought for national pride and TN pride have got neglected. Politics of corruption and dynastic politics can never satisfy local or national value centric objectives. This deficit is helping BJP in its onward march; particularly in TN, take for instance, Thiruvallulvar's Thirukkural. Is the DMK or anybody following it? Thirukkural is Tamil pride, Tamil symbol and Tamil value of good governance. Narendra Modiji is nearer to Thirukkural.
For the BJP, there is no difference between Chandra Gupta Maurya and Raja Raja Chola both are equally important. Due to disconnect between values and politics in the last five decades in TN, the receptivity for BJP is on the ascent. You will be looking at a completely changed BJP with new faces with new blood taking up the leading positions and roles. 2019 will be a watershed in this whole change.