BJP’s mission 122 in Tamil Nadu is seemingly based on the Haryana template – poaching leaders from other political parties, for their star power, attract prominent persons and strengthen the party at grassroots.
As part of this plan, BJP president Amit Shah welcomed former UPA minister and sidelined DMK leader D Napolean into the party fold on Sunday.
Shah got Napolean to dial the mobile number to send SMS that gets him a membership in the party. At the first rally he addressed in Tamil Nadu on Saturday after taking charge of the party, the BJP president also welcomed Tamil film music director Gangai Amaran and actress and dancer Gayatri Raghuram into the party fold.
Napolean’s quitting the DMK to join BJP sends out a signal that all is not well within the Dravidian party.
With the Congress not really in the race and the DMK weakened, the BJP sure aims at filling the space getting vacated in Tamil Nadu.
In the 2014 general elections to Lok Sabha, the NDA alliance in the state got 18% vote share and the BJP secured 5%.
Addressing media persons at BJP state unit head office in Chennai, Amit Shah said the BJP aimed to become the largest party in Tamil Nadu by reaching a figure of 60 lakh members by 2016. He asked the cadres to ensure that 100 members were enrolled from each of the 60,000 polling booths in Tamil Nadu.
Given the current political scenario and the people’s vexation with alternate rule of the DMK and the AIADMK that cost Tamil Nadu dear in terms of development and growth over the years, the BJP is sure to grow as a major political force, he said.
For the 2016 general elections in Tamil Nadu, the BJP would like to lead a coalition and will surely announce its chief ministerial candidate before going for polls. The assembly polls are still far away and differences if any in the NDA partners would be sorted out, he said. Significantly, Amit Shah met PMK leader and former union minister Anbumani Ramadoss on Saturday at his hotel.
Shah also called on political analyst and commentator Cho Ramaswamy for a courtesy visit.
The BJP president deftly sidestepped or avoided questions on conversions or RSS leader’s views on conversions. But, he said, the BJP was against forcible conversions and wanted all “so-called” secular parties to support the anti-conversion bill the central government wants to propose.
In his opening remarks, Shah outlined the successes achieved by the Modi government in a short span of six months and said the biggest achievement was containing inflation. The wholesale inflation touched zero in November. During the UPA regime it used to hover around 7%, he said. Within six months, petrol prices have been reduced ten times, helping the common man directly, Shah said.
What is more significant is that the Modi government brought the central government out of the policy paralysis syndrome and now quick decisions are being taken that will spur economic development, growth and above all employment generation, the BJP president said.
By insisting on technology transfer and manufacturing in India in the defence deals, the government has ensured that it adds firepower to the make in India campaign. This campaign is expected to generate employment.
So that the youth is able to take benefit of the opportunities, the central government has constituted a skill development ministry and put it under the charge of a minister. Replacing Planning Commission with a more efficient and representative body is a new concept thought out by the Modi government, Shah said.
Senior state BJP leaders, general secretary P Muralidhar Rao, Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan, national secretary H Raja, Tamil Nadu BJP unit president Tamizhisai Soundararajan, vice-president Vaanathi Srinivasan and senior leader L Ganesan were present on the dias along with Amit Shah.