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Tamil Maanila Congress joins hands with BJP

By, Chennai
Feb 27, 2024 01:28 AM IST

G K Vasan, a former Union Shipping Minister and son of veteran Congress leader G K Moopanar who leads the TMC made the announcement.

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Tamil Nadu on Tuesday, the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) on Monday announced that they will join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the Lok Sabha elections. After the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) quit the BJP last September, this is among the first announcements of a tie up among those in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Tamil Nadu BJP President K Annamalai and Tamil Maanila Congress President G K Vasan during a press conference announcing the Tamil Maanila Congress and BJP alliance for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Chennai on Monday. (Lakshmi)
Tamil Nadu BJP President K Annamalai and Tamil Maanila Congress President G K Vasan during a press conference announcing the Tamil Maanila Congress and BJP alliance for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Chennai on Monday. (Lakshmi)

GK Vasan, former Union shipping minister and son of veteran Congress leader GK Moopanar who leads the TMC, made the announcement justifying that it was taken in the interest of the nation. Vasan had a Rajya Sabha nomination in 2020 with the support from AIADMK legislators while they were in alliance with the BJP. He continued to share a good rapport with the BJP.

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“TMC has had a national outlook ever since it was launched,” Vasan told reporters. “The decision to join hands with BJP was taken to ensure the welfare of the people of Tamil Nadu and India. People want Prime Minister Narendra Modi to return for a third term to lead the country once again.”

His father had been against the BJP throughout his lifetime. After serving as a minister in UPA-I and UPA-II from 2006 to 2014. His father had launched TMC in 1996 after breaking away from Congress. Under him, the TMC has not won a single seat in elections they contested since 2016.

Tamil Nadu BJP president K Annamalai drove to Vasan’s residence to congratulate him for the party’s decision. “Vasan’s entry will strengthen the alliance. He will guide us for the next 100 days,” Annamalai said. TMC contested the 2019 Lok Sabha and 2021 assembly polls as part of the AIADMK-BJP alliance. Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) who were also with the NDA are yet to announce their plans.

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Tamil Nadu Congress Committee chief K Selvaperunthagai criticised Vasan’s decision to join the NDA at a time “no party in Tamil Nadu” is willing to tie-up with the BJP. “Moopanar’s soul will not forgive Vasan,” the Congress leader said. He recalled that it was with the support of three TMC MPs that led to the fall of the AB Vajpayee-led BJP government in 1999. He added that Vasan was made a minister by the Congress only because he was Moopanar’s son.

Leaders expelled from the AIADMK, O Panneerselvam and TTV Dhinakaran have also been leaning towards the BJP. On February 7, as many as 18 leaders from other parties joined the BJP. Of which 13 are former MLAs and one MP from the AIADMK, former legislators each from the DMDK, Congress and DMK and a former MLA who was with the AIADMK and later switched to the DMK.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Divya Chandrababu is an award-winning political and human rights journalist based in Chennai, India. Divya is presently Assistant Editor of the Hindustan Times where she covers Tamil Nadu & Puducherry. She started her career as a broadcast journalist at NDTV-Hindu where she anchored and wrote prime time news bulletins. Later, she covered politics, development, mental health, child and disability rights for The Times of India. Divya has been a journalism fellow for several programs including the Asia Journalism Fellowship at Singapore and the KAS Media Asia- The Caravan for narrative journalism. Divya has a master's in politics and international studies from the University of Warwick, UK. As an independent journalist Divya has written for Indian and foreign publications on domestic and international affairs.

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