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BJP’s new Tamil Nadu president Tamilisai Soundararajan, 53, is at work forming a fresh team of office-bearers to “develop the party base outside the Hindi land”. She has been given the tough task of fighting the Dravidian parties. In an informal chat she answers some questions on how she will battle back the dominant Jayalalithaa's AIADMK and M Karunanidhi's DMK:
Won’t it be difficult to build a party with nationalistic ideas in a Dravidian land?
After the ’60s, Dravidian parties took control of Tamil Nadu. They separated this state from the national sphere by raising sentiments based on language and the region. They talk more than they do. The biggest challenge for the BJP is to restore the political scene that existed before the 1960s.
Is it true that Rajinikanth is being considered as the BJP’s CM candidate for the assembly polls?
He is a nationalist and we welcome any nationalist. Yes, we are welcoming him... I will meet him soon. He has always been close to our party and he would be an asset too.
Tamil parties have been opposing the Narendra Modi government’s Sri Lanka policies. Won’t that make things difficult?
One should understand that the government in Sri Lanka has not changed. The Indian government is watching the rehabilitation process there. The denial of visas [to a UN team] was a government decision, I agree, but it is not because we are anti-Tamil. Unlike the previous UPA regime that was a silent spectator to genocide, we are slowly moving towards justice for Lankan Tamils. And a BJP and RSS delegation from Tamil Nadu has already expressed our strong sentiments against those who join hands with the Sri Lankan government.