Former DMK MP K.P. Ramalingam, who joined the BJP in Chennai on Saturday, said the BJP was the only party where the youth were joining voluntarily, without being given any positions.
Mr. Ramalingam, who represented the AIADMK in the Assembly twice when the party founder M.G. Ramachandran was alive, before joining the DMK, said he could not accept the leadership of DMK president M.K. Stalin. Mr. Ramalingam was suspended from the party earlier this year, and also stripped of the post of DMK farmers’ wing secretary.
“I could not maintain a rapport with Mr. Stalin. I joined the DMK since I could not accept the leadership of Jayalalithaa after the demise of MGR. I am not able to accept anyone as my leader after Kalaignar (the late M. Karunanidhi),” said Mr Ramalingam, a close friend of M.K. Alagiri, the elder brother of Mr. Stalin.
Mr. Ramalingam, who was elected from the Thiruchengode Lok Sabha constituency in 1996 on a DMK ticket, before his nomination to the Rajya Sabha in 2010, agreed that he had to learn, and adjust himself to national politics, particularly to the BJP as he had been with the Dravidian Movement for 42 years.
Asked about the scope of the BJP in Tamil Nadu politics, he said he was not bothered about the electoral prospects of the party, but only about its ethical scope. “Ethically, I have made up my mind to learn the politics of the BJP,” he said.
Mr. Ramalingam said though the party’s support in the Kongu region would be known only before the run-up to the elections, there was a support base for the party. “But I can say that a lot of youngsters are joining the BJP on their own. I do not think that they are driven by the objective of positions in the party. I have been observing the trend in the last eight months as a person who is not attached to any political party. The youth are committed in the manner that the the DMK and AIADMK cadres who dedicated themselves to the leadership of Kalaignar, MGR and Jayalalithaa were,” he said.
Alleging that both the DMK and AIADMK were dominated by those who wanted to retain their position and future posts, Mr. Ramalingam claimed only the BJP had committed cadres. He said his relationship with Mr. Alagiri would continue till his last days. “It is beyond politics,” he stressed.