Chennai: Amid persistent speculation that he was all set to merge his party with the BJP and take up the mantle of its state chief, Tamil Manila Congress leader G K Vasan has stoutly denied any such move. "All this talk of our merger with the BJP is mere rumour, it's false", he told reporters after his 20-minute meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Monday morning. That meeting was the latest inspiration for the merger speculation to hit the roof, yet again.
Ruling out merger with the BJP, Vasan insisted that his TMC "will function independently". He had been part of the BJP-AIADMK alliance during the last Lok Sabha elections. "TMC is well respected and liked in Tamil Nadu. We will function independently. We will be victorious in the local body elections in alliance with the AIADMK and after that, we will win Assembly seats. ", Vasan said, rubbishing rumours that he has been asked by the BJP top brass to merge his party with the BJP's state unit.
Asked what transpired during his meeting with PM Modi, Vasan said it was just a courtesy call. "I explained to him about developmental issues in Tamil Nadu in the fields of education, agriculture, jobs and the Tamil language. He listened patiently and even asked doubts", he said.
But then, apart from the big social media traffic on his moving towards the BJP, not even his friends in both the Dravidian parties seem convinced about Vasan's 'declaration of independence' from the saffron diktats. Some of them believe that the BJP is offering Vasan a Rajya Sabha seat that is soon getting available. Many think the TMC chief is finding it tough, financially, to run the party-what with the present-day politics getting terribly expensive, particularly during poll time!
Confirming that the TMC merger with BJP was "very much at the top of our internal discussions", a DMK senior said it was "an unfortunate development" considering that Vasan's father G K Moopanar "was a highly respected leader even at the AICC and was the right hand man for Indira Gandhi". Even when he strongly differed with the Congress stand-during the 1996 elections when then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao decided to align with Jayalalithaa's AIADMK despite her steep fall in public reckoning due to corruption charges-Moopanar "did not move away from the Congress principles and had only chosen to start another Congress party, naming it the TMC", the DMK functionary said.
"Vasan is not like his father. He has gone too far away from the Congress principles and has got close to the BJP. But then, we must admit he has no other option as the Congress is said to have cold-shouldered his overtures to return to the parent party", said the DMK senior.
"In other states, it does not matter if a political leader crosses from his party to the BJP and vice versa. Such traffic keeps happening and people don't bother. But that's not the case in Tamil Nadu, where people will not forgive you if you migrate to the BJP", he said. But then, what about S Thirunavukkarasar, who was MGR's find in the AIADMK Cabinet, later, had gone to the BJP to become a Central Minister and then finally landed in the Congress party?