With MDMK becoming the first ally to quit NDA, BJP on Monday remained unfazed rejecting the southern party’s contention that the Centre was acting against the interest of Tamils and signalled that it would not like any of its partners oppose the government.
Senior BJP leader and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said the government was doing its best to protect the interests of Tamils in Sri Lanka and needed to maintain better ties with Sri Lanka as it was India’s neighbour.
“We cannot have a partner opposing the government. If somebody is not happy, we cannot help,” he said, adding opposing and supporting the government cannot go on simultaneously.
Naidu said BJP is a national and nationalist party and have to work for national interests that includes maintaining good ties with neighbours like Sri Lanka.
“We have to keep the national interest in mind. Sri Lanka is our neighbour. We have to maintain good relations with all nations around us, including Sri Lanka. Whatever we have to do to protect the interests of Tamils in Sri Lanka, we are doing our best. We are doing everything to the best of our abilities,” he said.
To drive home his point, Naidu recalled how the Centre had used diplomacy to get the convicted fishermen freed.
Earlier, BJP general secretary P Muralidhar Rao said the departure of the Vaiko-led party would not have any impact on the BJP at the ground level in the state.
“I am confident that BJP and NDA will not get affected at the ground level in Tamil Nadu, against the backdrop of MDMK severing ties with us,” said Rao, who is in-charge of party affairs in Tamil Nadu.
Underscoring that the parting of ways by MDMK was “unfortunate”, he stressed that BJP had restrained from reacting to the “provocative” statements of Vaiko.
“We were completely restrained, though he was taking potshots in public,” Rao said, alleging that MDMK attempted to provoke BJP with its planned statements against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the NDA government.