Sidelined senior DMK leader V P Duraiswamy joined the BJP on Friday, a day after he was removed from the post of deputy general secretary by party president M K Stalin.
Stalin struck on Thursday after Duraiswamy met State BJP president L Murugan on May 18. Duraiswamy passed it off as a courtesy call as Murugan, a Dalit scholar, was also from his native district of Namakkal. He also said they contested against each other in the 2016 Assembly elections.
Proving Stalin’s assessment right, Duraiswamy called on Murugan in Chennai on Friday and formally joined the BJP.
More than ideological differences with the BJP, Stalin also felt that Murugan, who was vice chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Tribes, was responsible for the action initiated against DMK mouthpiece Murasoli over the allegation that its office was built on a panchami land in Kodambakkam.( Panchami lands are those given to the Dalits by the British). Murasoli contested the notice in court and thereby stalled the move.
Duraiswamy, who belonged to the Janaki faction of the AIADMK, joined the DMK in 1989 when a divided AIADMK lost the elections and M Karunanidhi returned to power after a gap of 13 years. He served as Deputy Speaker of the Tamil Nadu Assembly from 1989 to 91 and again from 2006 to 11.
After Stalin took over as president after the death of Karunanidhi, Duraiswamy was sidelined. He was denied ticket to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Namakkal and the seat was given to the Kongu Makkal Katchi which represents the Gounder community in the region and to which he also belongs. He hoped to get nominated to the Rajya Sabha, but the DMK nominated his fellow district leader Andhiyur Selvaraj.
When Murugan took over as the State president of the BJP in the place of Tamilisai Soundararajan upon her appointment as Telangana Governor, overtures were made to the disgruntled Duraiswamy and he agreed to cross over.
After he was removed from the party post, Duraiswamy formally quit the DMK and joined the BJP.