Thursday, October 17, 2013

Caste, regional grouping to support BJP in Lok Sabha poll

In a sign of the political churning ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha election, a handful of caste and regional outfits have announced the formation of a federation, which, its leaders said, will support the BJP. Though these groups on their own lack the heft to critically influence election results, their coming together in favour of BJP may help the saffron party in western Tamil Nadu, where it already has a presence. Desiya Samuga Kuttamaipu (DSK), as the federation has called itself, is an apex body of nearly 50 social and political outfits including Kongu Vellala Goundergal Peravai, Kongu Nadu Munnetra Kazhagam, Ariya Vaisya Munnetra Peravai, Indu Makkal Katchi and Tamil Desiya Katchi, with considerable presence in the districts of Salem, Erode, Coimbatore, the Nilgiris and Namakkal. DSK leaders added they will transform the federation into a political party ahead of the Lok Sabha election. At a press meet in Salem on Wednesday, leaders of DSK said Congress has failed the nation and announced their support for BJP. They plan to meet BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi to declare their support. However, DSK will support AIADMK in the Yercaud assembly byelection slated for December 4. At the press meet, the designated state president of the federation, 'Pongalur' R Manikandan, claimed that people have lost faith in the UPA government. "The Congress government is totally corrupt and the politicians are working for money and not for public welfare," he claimed. Striking a nationalistic tone echoing the BJP national leadership, Manikandan alleged that the Union government had failed to stop Chinese incursion in Arunachal Pradesh and had failed to any initiation to end attacks (by Sri Lankan navy) on fishermen from Tamil Nadu. "So, all the caste and region-based political parties and various organizations have formed the federation to fight the Congress," Manikandan added. Manikandan said 'Best' S Ramasamy, president of Kongunadu Munnetra Kazhagam (KMK), will be the founder president of DSK while S Ganesa Thevar (president, All India Thevar Youth Peravai), Kangeyam M Thangavel (state general secretary, KMK), KC Thiru Maran (president, Thevar Desiya Peravai) and Arumugam Pillai (president, Ananthu Pillaimar Maha Sabai) will work as general secretaries and R K Jayakumar (president, Ananthu Nayudu Naicker Mahajana Peravai) will be the state treasurer. 'Auditor' M Balasubramaniam (president, Tamil Desiya Katchi) and Arjun Sampath (president, Hindu Makkal Katchi) will be the national coordinators of DSK, Manikandan added. Manikandan claimed that more than 10,000 persons have joined the federation as members. He said a large number of the party members were young. A state meet of the federation will be held in January, 2014 in Trichy. "We will announce our party agenda in that meeting. Also, we will decide our plan for Parliament election in that meeting," Manikandan said. Most of the groups in DSK have influence within their caste in western Tamil Nadu. Mostly representing the land-owning middle castes of western Tamil Nadu, these groups have been in recent times sided with PMK in espousing its anti-dalit politics. Some of the leaders also have a strong pro-Hindutva tilt in their politics. For the BJP, the development is a shot in the arm since the party had been struggling to find partners ahead of the Lok Sabha election in the state. The aggregation of these caste groups could help the party to build a momentum in its favour, especially in western Tamil Nadu, where they had won two Lok Sabha seats in 1998 and 1999. The political development is a setback to PMK which had planned to build a platform of various non-dalit castes to take on both DMK and AIADMK.

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