Ramdas Athawale appeals to AIADMK to join hands with NDA in Lok Sabha elections

Puducherry: Union Minister Ramdas Athawale on Tuesday appealed to the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu to join hands with the NDA in the coming parliamentary elections. “If AIADMK joins hands with the NDA it would benefit the State and the AIADMK as well,” he told reporters here after reviewing welfare schemes implemented by the Puducherry government.

Athawale, who is national president of the Republican Party of India (A), a constituent of the NDA, has made the appeal, days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said during an interaction with BJP workers in Tamil Nadu that the BJP cherished its old friends. Modi had said the BJP was open to alliances following the path of Atal Bihari Vajpayee who had successfully built coalitions respecting regional aspirations. Senior AIADMK leader D Jayakumar Tuesday said in Chennai the party’s doors were open for an alliance and indicated any decision on a poll pact would emerge only ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, who holds the top party post of ‘coordinator’ in the AIADMK, recently said “at the time of election, anything can happen.” Athawale on Tuesday also made a specific appeal to rebel AIADMK leader and  Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam founder T T V Dhinakaran to join hands with the AIADMK. Athawale said Dhinakaran was originally with the AIADMK.

“Dhinakaran is my good friend…. I would like to suggest to him thatto fulfil the dreams of former chief minister and AIADMK general secretary late Jayalalithaa the two groups should come together so that they would win good number of seats in the Lok Sabha polls,” he said. The union minister also appealed to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami to ensure installation of a “big statue of the leader of the downtrodden Dr Ambedkar at Kanyakumari which is a place of confluence of the three seas.”

He said he would write to Palaniswami in this connection and also hold talks with him during his visit to Chennai. Athawale was happy to see that the Union Territory of Puducherry had registered only 23 cases of atrocities against the Scheduled castes between 2013 and 2019. “This is a good example for Tamil Nadu and other States (to emulate),” he said. The MUDRA scheme operated in Puducherry was also of great help and ever since the scheme was launched 36,000 people had been benefited with disbursement of Rs 500 crore through banks to facilitate launching of self-employment projects, he added.

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