CHENNAI: In this second and concluding part of his interview to Deccan Chronicle, BJP State secretary, K.T. Raghavan is optimistic that the Modi government's achievements would help the BJP to fill the political vacuum in Tamil Nadu. Excerpts:
What is BJP's strategy in this tough Dravidian State?
We have our own strategies. Literacy rate is very high in Tamil Nadu. People will support the initiatives of Modi government. I can give one example. When a call was made by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to give up the gas subsidy, around eight lakh cardholders responded positively. This is the fifth State among all States in India in terms of the number of households who gave up the subsidy.
But there was criticism over demonitisation in a literate state like TN?
Immediately after demonitisation, three Assembly by-elections were held in Tamil Nadu. Apart from AIADMK and DMK, many other parties too fielded their candidates. BJP came third in all the three places. So it shows not only in TN, everywhere where State elections were held post-demonisation, BJP won 90 per cent of the State results. It shows people accepted the PM's decisions and continued to repose confidence in him.
What is the stumbling block for development of BJP you see in TN?
The socio-political condition in TN is different from other states. For example, in Karnataka there are three political formations. Here, we have ten at least and now Kamal, Rajini and TTV have joined that list. Securing certain per cent of votes is not an easy joke. Jayalalithaa and M. Karunanidhi dominated Tamil Nadu politics for over 30 years. They had very good organisational structure in their parties. Now there is a big vacuum due to the absence of both. That vacuum, hopefully, we will be able to fill with the achievements of Modi government.
When Amit Shah visited Chennai, he wanted booth committees to be strengthened. Has there been any progress?
Organisational work is a continuous process. President and organisational secretary are visiting every district to strengthen the organisational base and review the preparedness of the party. The response is very good, enthusiastic.
Before you party makes political moves, is there any substantive projects for TN?
After UP, the number of Smart Cities allotted for a State is maximum in Tamil Nadu-12. Defence Ministry is coming up with a 'Defence Corridor' from Chennai to Hosur, Hosur -Tiruchy. This will help small and medium scale industries in TN. Will generate large employment, will help GDP growth in TN. And a couple of weeks ago, when Union Minister for Shipping Nitin Gadkari visited Chennai, he laid foundation for projects worth Rs.One lakh crore - road and infrastructure projects, such as Salem-Chennai green express corridor (Rs.10,000 crore) besides Chennai - Kanyakumari ECR road-widening and Enayam port near Colachel in Kanyakumari district.
We have already done significant things for TN — got the release of five TN fishermen sentenced to death in Sri Lanka and Fr. Alex Premkumar kidnapped by Taliban was rescued by the Modi Government....