Former DMK MP perceived close to Alagiri joins BJP

Former DMK MP K P Ramalingam perceived close to Alagiri joins BJP

The joining of Ramalingam is significant as it comes close on the heels of reports that Alagiri may launch his own political party

 Credit: Special arrangement

Former DMK Rajya Sabha MP K P Ramalingam, who enjoys a good rapport with expelled party leader M K Alagiri, on Saturday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in the latest induction as part of the saffron party's massive recruitment drive to make inroads into Tamil Nadu.

Ramalingam, who was removed as Farmers' Wing secretary of the DMK and suspended from the party earlier this year, joined BJP in the presence of general secretary in-charge of Tamil Nadu, C T Ravi. His joining came hours before Union Home Minister and BJP's election strategist Amit Shah landed in Chennai to participate in government functions and meet party leaders.

The joining of Ramalingam is significant as it comes close on the heels of reports that Alagiri, the elder son of late DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi, may launch his own political party and align with the BJP. Ramalingam is considered close to Alagiri and is one of the very few DMK leaders who mustered the courage to meet the Madurai strongman days after he was suspended from the party by Karunanidhi in January 2014.

After joining the BJP, Ramalingam said he will certainly speak to Alagiri about his new political innings and extended an invitation to join the saffron party. “Of course, I will tell him all the good things about BJP. I will certainly convince him to join the BJP whose leaders are giving much-needed direction to the country. I will do my part and the rest is in his (Alagiri's) hands,” Ramalingam told DH.

The former DMK MP, who was with the AIADMK under M G Ramachandran before jumping the ship after his death, said Alagiri was “his brother” and he continues to enjoy “good rapport” with him.

Ramalingam said he decided to join the BJP as he was not “matured enough” to accept anyone other than Karunanidhi as his leader in the DMK. “When MGR died, my mind did not accept Jayalalithaa as my leader. And now, after Kalaignar (Karunanidhi), I do not feel like accepting anyone as a leader in the DMK,” he said.

On his joining the BJP, Ramalingam said he was impressed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership skills, and his economic policies. “I have been in politics for 45 years having been trained under MGR and Karunanidhi. I think it is time for me to join a national party and work for them,” he said.