The BJP is a national party but it lacks friends in Tamil Nadu. Vaiko’s MDMK, Vijayakanth’s DMDK and Anbumani Ramadoss’ PMK—parties that were part of the 2014 NDA combine — have left the alliance. Despite this, the state leadership is upbeat about the polls.
BJP state president Dr Tamilisai Soundrajan tells Viju Cherian about why the alliance broke up, why the party backs prohibition and why five years of J Jayalalithaa was ‘bad’ for Tamil Nadu. Excerpts:
BJP is fighting polls without the NDA partners it had in the 2014 elections. Why is it so?
In 2014, we formed a anti-AIADMK, anti-DMK alliance and we wanted it to continue in this election as well. At that time, Modi was projected as the PM candidate and everybody accepted it. This time, many in the alliance wanted to become CM candidates. We tried to work a formula, saying that to defeat Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi what we needed was a strong combine where the CM candidate will be selected after the polls. We tried to keep the combine but it did not work.
How do you rate the five years of AIADMK government?
I cannot give it pass mark. A pass mark can be given only for TASMAC (Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation that controls sale of liquor), because that’s the only wing this government has focused on. The government is not that of a common man. Jayalalithaa is a virtual CM — you can see her online, she inaugurates schemes online…but the people are offline.
What is the BJP’s view on prohibition in Tamil Nadu?
We are for total prohibition because we do not want to fill the exchequer by killing people.