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'OPS does not have a direct line to Modi'

May 04, 2017 09:17 IST

'Sasikala went to jail in a 19-year-old case.'
'Dinakaran went to jail in a case of attempting to bribe the Election Commission.'
'How can you link the BJP to these two cases?'

IMAGE: O Panneerselvam, then Tamil Nadu chief minister, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, December 19, 2016.

As you turn into the road leading to the Bharatiya Janata Party's office in Chennai, two policemen come into view. One of them notes down the registration number of every car that enters the road. Further down, are six more policemen.

Inside the office compound is a cabin with two more policemen in it. That is, 10 policemen posted to guard a party that does not have a single member in the state assembly.

As you wait in Kamalalayam, or 'House of lotus' in Tamil, for state BJP secretary Karu Nagarajan, a few details about the office catch your eye.

The main hall looks like a temple, with idols of goddess Saraswati, Bharat Mata and the Tamil poet-saint Thiruvalluvar.

To the right are photographs of past and present BJP leaders, starting with Atal Bihari Vajpayee and ending with current BJP President Amit Shah.

It is customary for cadres of Dravidian political parties to carry their leaders' photograph in their shirt pockets, a habit, one notes, that has percolated down to the younger generation of BJP cadres, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's photograph visible through the shirt linen.

Like elsewhere in the Indian Union, the BJP hopes to ride on Modi's popularity in the panchayat elections whenever they are held.

"The people of Tamil Nadu want change and they will vote for the BJP," Nagarajan, left, insists to Rediff.com's A Ganesh Nadar on reaching the office after an hour's delay, which he blames on Chennai's traffic.

Does the BJP have a future in Tamil Nadu?

The future of the BJP in Tamil Nadu is very bright.

The people are sick and tired of the Dravidian parties. They are corrupt and inept. They are involved in kangaroo courts, land-grabbing and infighting.

Farmers are committing suicide. The water level has dropped to an alarming level, it is the cause of the drought in the state.

In every department only those schemes are taken up that are profitable to both bureaucrats and politicians.

You cannot get any work done without a bribe.

There is no plan to improve the lot of the people.

Seeing all this and wanting change, the people of Tamil Nadu will vote for the BJP.

Former chief minister O Panneerselvam has said if the two factions of the AIADMK (All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) do not unite, he will form a grand alliance with like-minded parties. Will the BJP be part of that alliance?

That must be the plan of the OPS faction of that party. I welcome it.

We are the party ruling at the Centre. We will form an alliance which we head.

Alliances will be decided by party leaders only at the time of elections.

Is the BJP tacitly supporting the OPS faction in the AIADMK power struggle?

This is a total lie. It is fabricated, and it is a propaganda led by parties like the DMK who are saying this everywhere. It is not true.

The belief that you are supporting OPS stems from the fact that whosoever opposes him goes to jail.

Sasikala went to jail in a 19-year-old case.

Dinakaran went to jail in a case of attempting to bribe the Election Commission.

How can you link the BJP to these two cases? We have nothing to do with them.

How can you even make such accusations?

Is it true that OPS has a direct line to Prime Minister Modi?

As far as I know it was EPS (Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami) who went to Delhi to meet the PM recently.

Likewise, AIADMK MPs too meet him (Modi) regularly.

Even OPS met him when he was CM. All of them meet him for the betterment of the people of Tamil Nadu and the PM helps them.

How can you say he (Modi) has a direct line only with OPS? He meets everyone.

In spite of the Tamil Nadu government opposing the hydrocarbon project at Neduvasal, the central government gave the go-ahead.
Is it because the project was given to a BJP MP?

Ganesh Nadar is not aware of the current situation. The MP you are talking about (G Mallikarjuna) is long dead.

Moreover, the project was given in 31 places across the country. Why are you singling out this one project?

The projects have been taken up by private companies, public sector companies. One has been taken up by a multinational company in partnership with an NRI. This (Neduvasal) is just one of them.

It is the Congress party that gives projects to its friends, and that is why the 2G case is on.

The BJP does everything online and it is totally transparent, like the coal auction.

Everyone can participate, his party affiliation is irrelevant.

If what you say is true, why didn't the BJP give all 31 projects to its own people? Why only this one?

The Neduvasal project was given to a BJP MP who subsequently died. Now it is run by his son G M Siddheswara, who is also a BJP MP. Are you denying it?

Among the 31 projects, why are you stuck on this one?

In Tamil Nadu TASMAC (the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation, which alone can sell alcohol in the state) buys all its stuff from AIADMK and DMK men.

The Neduvasal discovery was made when the DMK was in power in Tamil Nadu and the Congress in power at the Centre.

At that time the MLA (S P Muthukumaran) was from the CPI (Communist Party of India). But nobody objected.

This project was not started to benefit a BJP MP, please understand that.

Are you going to support the people who oppose the project, or are you going to support your MP in this case?

The people of Tamil Nadu are our life force. We support the people always.

So will you oppose your MP?

There is no BJP MP involved. He is dead.

But his son is alive and has the contract.

No!

Yes!

No!

A Ganesh Nadar / Rediff.com