Piyush Goyal to kick-start alliance talks in Tamil Nadu

BJP's Tamil Nadu in-charge Piyush Goyal and his deputy C T Ravi, a Karnataka BJP MLA, will be in Chennai on Friday for this purpose.

Keen to build a formidable coalition against the DMK-Congress combine in Tamil Nadu, the BJP will kick-start its alliance talks on Friday by meeting leaders of potential partners, including the ruling AIADMK.

BJP's Tamil Nadu in-charge Piyush Goyal and his deputy C T Ravi, a Karnataka BJP MLA, will be in Chennai on Friday for this purpose.

The BJP, which hardly has any base in Tamil Nadu, is trying to cobble up a strong coalition with AIADMK, PMK and DMDK to take on the DMK-Congress combine, which has already announced Rahul Gandhi as their nominee for the prime minister's post.

Sources said Goyal is likely to meet leaders of the AIADMK, PMK and DMDK on Friday to express BJP’s interest in all the parties coming together to fight the DMK-Congress alliance.

While the AIADMK quit the A B Vajpayee-led NDA in 2004, the PMK and DMDK severed ties with the national party after the 2014 general elections.

The NDA won 2 seats — BJP’s Pon Radhakrishnan from Kanniyakumari and PMK’s Anbumani Ramadoss from Dharmapuri — of the 39 it contested in the 2014 elections.

Goyal's visit comes after he held a few rounds of negotiations with the AIADMK leaders in New Delhi last month.

Leaders of the PMK and DMDK are yet to give their nod and Goyal's visit is to convince them of the need for the parties to come together to bring back Modi to power at the Centre, sources said.

Though the AIADMK is not quite popular among people after the death of its charismatic leader J Jayalalithaa in 2016, the BJP feels it makes sense to ally with the Dravidian party since it has more than 20% of the vote share.

Also, roping in parties like the PMK, DMDK and a few other outfits, which have influence in pockets, would also help the BJP.

BJP was an unacceptable for both Dravidian parties from 2004 till 2016 but things have changed dramatically after Jayalalithaa’s death.

The AIADMK, which has become unpopular since then, feels an alliance with the BJP would help them to put up a strong fight against the DMK-Congress since the national party would bring in a battery of leaders to campaign in the state.

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