: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Thursday that the BJP is open to alliances and cherished its old friends, in a hint that it was looking to strengthen the NDA in Tamil Nadu ahead the Lok Sabha elections.
Slamming Congress for its "arrogance" and slighting regional parties, Modi said that the party was haughty enough to say that they would spring a "surprise" despite having none to rub shoulders with in Uttar Pradesh.
In an interaction with party booth-level workers from five districts in Tamil Nadu through video conferencing, he recalled the "successful coalition politics" ushered in by former Prime Minister, the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the 1990s and said the BJP's doors were "always open".
"...20 years ago the visionary leader Atal ji brought in a new culture in Indian politics, that of successful coalition politics. He gave utmost importance to regional aspirations... BJP has followed the way Atal ji has shown us," Modi said.
The prime minister, in the fourth interaction with party workers in the state, was responding to questions from a worker on whether the BJP would ally with AIADMK, DMK or Tamil superstar Rajinikanth, who is yet to form his political party.
The BJP had fought the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu leading a six-party alliance comprising smaller parties, including the DMDK, the PMK and Vaiko-led MDMK, and won two of the 39 seats -- one each by the saffron party and PMK.
However, all five parties snapped ties with the BJP later. The prime minister said a strong NDA was "an article of faith for us".
"It is not a compulsion. Even when the BJP won a strong majority on its own, we preferred to run the government with our allies. We cherish our old friends and our doors are always open for parties," Modi said.
"Congress ill-treated regional political parties, aspirations and people because they felt they alone have the right to be in power," Modi said.
The Prime Minister alleged that the Congress, in one of their party meetings, had passed a resolution saying that they do not want an alliance. "Such was that party's arrogance."
"Even today when Congress does not find a place in the alliance in Uttar Pradesh, their leaders are back to their arrogance and say we will surprise everyone. Well, everyone is aware of the reality in UP," he said without elaborating further.
On farmers' welfare, he said "our government had the honour of bringing in a historic hike in MSP."
Hitting out again at arch rival Congress, he said those who were in power at the Centre for so many years, "who consider power their divine right," were never serious about farmers' welfare.
"They never thought about taking such a farmer friendly decision. We want to keep working for the propserity of our farmers and are committed to doubling farmer income by 2022."
The prime minister also stressed on the importance of connecting with the people, saying more than all the political issues, the winning alliance was an alliance with the people.
"The strongest alliance is one with common citizens.More than alliances we have to focus on remaining connected with the people," he said.
BJP workers from Arakkonam, Cuddalore, Krishnagiri, Erode, Cuddalore and Dharmapuri took part in the exercise on Thursday.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)