Disgruntled with DMK, sitting MLA KK Selvam meets BJP leaders but denies joining party
Chennai: KK Selvam, the sitting DMK MLA from the prestigious Thousand Lights constituency in Chennai met BJP leaders in Delhi, on a day when even the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tamil Nadu unit said that he would be joining the party.
However, after meeting BJP leaders in Delhi, he told reporters that he was not joining the BJP and had met them only to make certain demands related to his constituency. “I visited Railways Minister Piyush Goyal to request him to install two lifts at the Nungambakkam station in my constituency and also asked BJP President JP Nadda to develop temple town Rameswaram on par with Ayodhya," he said.
The MLA also demanded that his party leader MK Stalin holds internal party elections and snapped ties with the Congress and the Gandhi family. His other demand was about wanting MK Stalin to condemn Karuppar Koottam, a Youtube channel that had made a derogatory video related to a holy hymn on Lord Muruga. On being asked about reaching Delhi and meeting BJP leaders without informing the party high command, he asserted his readiness to face disciplinary action from the party.
Clear links of his possible shift to the BJP, coming just ahead of the 2021 assembly election, isn’t good news for Tamil Nadu’s opposition party DMK, which has been out of power for two terms. While it is common for leaders to jump ship and join other Dravidian parties, it comes as a surprise that the DMK leader has chosen to join the BJP, which has an insignificant political representation in the Tamil Nadu, where the Dravidian majors have ruled for over five decades.
The first leader from the DMK to join the BJP in recent times was VP Duraiswamy and it is said that not being given a Rajya Sabha seat led to his exit. Similarly, Selvam too is said to have been eyeing a district secretary post, which eventually he ended up not getting.
Persons close to the DMK claim that this is not going to affect the party’s prospects in the coming poll especially as the leaders who have left are disgruntled leaders and not big names. However, there is also the widespread talk of old-timers being unhappy about newbies and those close to Stalin’s son being given plum party posts, despite their inexperience.
Recently there have been various reports of DMK youth wing leader and MK Stalin’s son Udhayanidhi wielding influence in appointing those in his close circle for plum posts. This is said to have caused heartburn among a few old-timers.
“Basically the BJP is on a campaign to woo leaders from the DMK and they are also in talks with two-three others, including a former Minister. While Udhayanidhi and his actions cannot be seen as a sole influence for the exits, it is one among the reasons. Unlike the 2019 Lok Sabha polls(which DMK and allies swept), next year’s assembly polls won’t be a one-horse race for the DMK. There is uncertainty," said senior journalist and political analyst Sumanth C Raman.
Thousand Lights as a constituency also holds significance as it is bang in the heart of Chennai city and was a constituency that MK Stalin had also fought elections from. When asked about the possibility of more leaders from DMK joining the DMK, BJP Spokesperson Narayanan Thirupathy said that the BJP welcomes anybody who accepts their ideology.