BJP open to alliances, cherishes old friends: Modi

Chennai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi hinted on Thursday that he was looking to strengthen the NDA in Tamilnadu ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. He said the BJP cherished its old friends and is open to alliances.

Through a video conferencing with party booth-level workers from five districts in Tamilnadu he said the BJP’s doors were “always open.” “…20 years ago the visionary leader Atal ji brought in a new culture in Indian politics, that of successful coalition politics. He gave utmost importance to regional aspirations… BJP has followed the way Atal ji has shown us,” Modi said.

This is the Prime Minister’ fourth interaction with party workers in the state. He was responding to questions from a worker on whether the BJP would ally with AIADMK, DMK or Tamil superstar Rajinikanth.

BJP workers from Arakkonam, Cuddalore, Krishnagiri, Erode, Cuddalore and Dharmapuri took part in the interaction on Thursday.

The BJP had fought the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in Tamilnadu leading a six-party alliance comprising smaller parties, including the DMDK, the PMK and Vaiko-led MDMK, and won two of the 39 seats. However, all five parties snapped ties with the BJP later.

Modi further said, “It is not a compulsion. Even when the BJP won a strong majority on its own, we preferred to run the government with our allies. We cherish our old friends and our doors are always open for parties.”

He said the Congress had ill-treated regional parties. “What Atal ji did was in direct contrast to the Congress which has never cared for regional aspirations. Congress ill-treated regional political parties, aspirations and people because they felt they alone have the right to be in power,” Modi stated.

“Even today when Congress does not find a place in the alliance in Uttar Pradesh, their leaders are back to their arrogance and say we will surprise everyone. Well, everyone is aware of the reality in UP,” he said.

He was apparently referring to the move by Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party to fight the 2019 Lok Sabha elections together, leaving out the Congress from the alliance.

The Prime Minister also alleged that the Congress had passed a resolution saying that they do not want an alliance. “Such was that party’s arrogance.”

Talking about farmers’ welfare, he said, “Our government had the honour of bringing in a historic hike in MSP.” Hitting out again at arch rival Congress, he said those who were in power at the Centre for so many years were never serious about farmers’ welfare.

“They never thought about taking such a farmer friendly decision. We want to keep working for the prosperity of our farmers and are committed to doubling farmer income by 2022.”

The Prime Minister also spoke about the importance of connecting with the people. “The strongest alliance is one with common citizens. More than alliances we have to focus on remaining connected with the people,” he said.

NT Bureau