The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jaya, Advani on same stage

New Delhi, Jan. 30: The BJP and the ADMK will proclaim their reunion on February 1 when Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa and deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani share a platform in Chennai.

BJP sources said the inauguration of Tamil Nadu’s first community radio station at Anna University will not be political. However, the presence of the two leaders at the function at which information and broadcasting minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will also be present, will be the cue for their cadre to start oiling the election machinery.

Sources admitted that the BJP’s stakes in Tamil Nadu are not huge, but said the “importance” of getting Jayalalithaa on their side lies in the numbers the party’s newest ally would have in the post-poll scenario.

In 1999, the ADMK was supposed to be down and out after pulling down the Vajpayee government and coming in for flak from the BJP and the DMK. However, Jayalalithaa had managed to hold her own and secure 11 seats to equal the DMK tally.

The ADMK’s performance was significant as Jayalalithaa had a less-than-perfect alliance with the Congress and the Left — she did not address a single meeting with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi — while the DMK had a paper-perfect arrangement with a string of parties, including the BJP, the MDMK and the PMK.

The BJP reckoned that the ADMK’s block of 10-plus MPs would be valuable in getting a working majority because of the prediction that other allies like the Telugu Desam Party and the Biju Janata Dal may not retain the same number of seats. The BJP, thus, put the acrimonious chapter of 1998-99 with Jayalalithaa behind it.

Advani also met BJP chief M. Venkaiah Naidu, as well as general secretaries Pramod Mahajan and Sanjay Joshi, to review the state of alliances and the statewise position of the party.

Sources admitted that the BJP might add marginally to its 1999 tally of 182 seats, despite the latest projections of a polling agency that gave the NDA 330 to 340 seats in the 545-member House.

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