BJP’s door always open for parties & ‘old friends’: PM

BJP’s door always open for parties & ‘old friends’: PM

For Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), NDA is an “article of faith” and not a compulsion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday while reminding “old friends” that the party’s doors are always open for them.

Though Modi’s comments came in response to a question on the party’s alliance strategy in Tamil Nadu, they need not be viewed strictly through the prism of the southern state.

Utilising the occasion to take pot-shots at Congress for “mismanaging” and “ill-treating” allies, Modi said the arrogance of the Rahul Gandhi-led party can be gauged from the way it has been putting up a brave face despite not finding a berth in Grand Alliance stitched up in Uttar Pradesh by SP and BSP.

Invoking late prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his willingness to accommodate allies, Modi spoke in detail on how the Congress cannot manage allies due to its arrogance. He was asked to “clear the air” on speculation in Tamil Nadu that the party who the party will ally with -- AIADMK, Rajinikanth or even DMK.

Modi’s comments that “BJP’s doors for old friends and parties” are always open can be interpreted in many ways – it could be the PM’s way of keeping options open with the DMK for a post-poll tie-up or even a message to former allies like TDP and AGP who have left the NDA-II or include old allies like the AIADMK, PMK and BJD, who were part of NDA-I.

The BJP is scouting for allies in Tamil Nadu and hopes to build a strong alliance to take on the formidable DMK-Congress combine for the general elections due in May.

“This is an interesting question and more than you all, I am sure, the media is interested in this question. Let me start by taking you back in time. Twenty years ago, the visionary leader A B Vajpayee brought in a new culture in Indian politics that of successful coalition politics,” Modi told party workers from Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu, while interacting with them via popular NaMo app.

Vajpayee showed the country how both states and Centre can work together for the “welfare of the nation” in stark contrast to what the Congress did by standing in the way of regional aspirations and ill-treating them.

“Even after not finding a place in the UP alliance, Congress leaders are back to arrogance and everyone is aware of the reality in Uttar Pradesh. Strong NDA is an article of faith for the BJP and it is not a compulsion. We cherish our old friends and our doors are always open for parties,” Modi said, adding that BJP preferred to run the government with its allies despite winning a majority on its own.

However, he added that more than an alliance with the parties, the real tie-up that matters is the one with people. “I feel strongest alliance is the one that we stitch with the common citizens. We have to focus on remaining connected with the people,” Modi told BJP’s booth-level workers.