Lok Sabha poll tie-up with BJP mirrors Amma’s strategy, says AIADMK
Chennai, Feb 23: The ruling AIADMK on Saturday said its alliance with the BJP was in national interest and following in the footsteps of late party supremo J Jayalalithaa, who had struck a poll deal with the saffron outfit in 1998.
On the eve of the 71st birth anniversary of Jayalalithaa, AIADMK top leaders O Panneerselvam and K Palaniswami exhorted party workers to take a vow to bag "magnificent victories like Puratchi Thalaivi Amma," in the coming Lok Sabha elections and in the bypolls expected to 21 Assembly seats.
"We have cobbled up a victorious alliance that would guard national interests like the one sewn by Puratchi Thalaivi in 1998," the top two leaders said in a letter to party workers.
The AIADMK alliance had bagged 30 out of the total of 39 seats in Tamil Nadu in 1998 Lok Sabha elections, including three won by the BJP. The rest went to the DMK camp.
Seeking to further defend its decision to go with the BJP,which is facing strong criticism from the DMK over various issues, including "infringing" states' autonomy, the AIADMK said it would continue to remain committed to its core political ideologies, including guarding secularism, state autonomy and social justice.
"On the even of the birth anniversary of our beloved mentor Amma, let us take a vow to slog towards a magnificent victory and guard our party," the two leaders said.
The BJP, meanwhile, said the AIADMK leads the alliance in Tamil Nadu.
Against the background of media reports claiming that BJP chief Amit Shah had told AIADMK top brass on Friday at Madurai that the alliance in Tamil Nadu should be called the NDA alliance, state unit chief Tamilisai Soundararajan said she wanted to give a 'clarification' on the matter.
"In Tamil Nadu, AIADMK is the principal party of the alliance and the BJP is also part of that combine. There is no confusion and problem," she told reporters, adding that her party had no issues whatsoever over this.
"At the national level, Narendra Modi leads the alliance (of the National Democratic Alliance) and he is our Prime Minsiterial candidate," she said.
The discussions was cordial in this regard between the AIADMK and BJP leadership, she said after a meeting with Chief Minister K Palaniswami here.
She blamed the opposition for trying to create confusion.
Senior AIADMK leader D Jayakumar said the name under which his party led coalition should be addressed would be decided by the party high command.
He said the mega alliance is led by AIADMK and has been put in place for the interests of the state and the nation.
"We are united," he said, adding that several other outfits were set to join his party led alliance.
Tamilisai said "there is no deadlock in coalition talks with DMDK..the talks are on in a cordial manner...the DMDK leadership is mindful of the national interest and we are confident that they will join our alliance."
DMK chief Stalin and top actor Rajinikanth had visited Vijayakanth Friday only to enquire about his health, she said, adding it had nothing to do with politics.