Rajya Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu Sasikala Pushpa, who was expelled from the AIADMK in 2016, joined the ruling BJP on Sunday (February 2) in the presence of the party’s national secretary, P Muralidhar Rao, and former Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan.
Inducting Sasikala into the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at a press conference, Rao, who is the party’s in-charge for the southern state, described her as a “very aggressive, vocal leader in Tamil Nadu”.
“Sasikala is a Rajya Sabha member and she has been a very aggressive, vocal leader in Tamil Nadu. Coming from south Tamil Nadu, she has also been a mayor of Thoothukudi, a port town, and has worked as the chief of the AIADMK’s women’s wing for the state,” he said.
Sasikalas tenure in the Upper House of Parliament will come to an end in a few months. She was involved in an altercation with a DMK MP in 2016 and was accused of slapping him. Subsequently, the then AIADMK supremo and former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa had expelled her from the party.
At the press conference at the BJP office, Rao made the announcement of Pushpa’s joining, saying it would be advantageous for the saffron party in Tamil Nadu.
“With the joining of Sasikala, the party’s capacity to fight the coming Assembly election will definitely gain further advantage,” he said.
BJP’s decision to induct Sasikala into the party highlights its efforts to strengthen its base in Tamil Nadu, ahead of the Assembly polls in the southern state next year.
Despite its rise across the country under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the saffron party has been unable to make much of a mark in the Dravidian state so far.
“In Tamil Nadu, the BJP is gaining strength day by day. Our membership and penetration have increased in every district of the state. The appeal of Narendra Modi is enhancing the party’s spread,” he added.
“A number of leaders, who have worked in different parties, have been joining the BJP and expressing their willingness to strengthen it under the leadership of Modiji. We have an ideological and political fight with the DMK and the Congress. As we have been fighting all over the country, the fight in Tamil Nadu is also getting sharpened day by day. Even in Delhi, Tamil people are now supporting the BJP,” Rao said.
Welcoming Sasikala into the BJP, Radhakrishnan, the former Union minister of state in the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Shipping, said it will strengthen the party in Tamil Nadu.