After row erupts, BJP backs away from Maneka Gandhi over 'support' missive to Jayalalithaa

Written by Press Trust of India | Chennai | Updated: Oct 21 2014, 03:09am hrs
Seeking to distance itself from Union Minister Maneka Gandhi's support to former chief minister Jayalalithaa, convicted in a graft case, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today said its opposition to ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu was not diluted.

"The letter should not be seen as a policy statement of BJP. Maneka may be having faith that Jayalalithaa is innocent because everybody is innocent till the final legal avenue is over," BJP National General Secretary P Muralidhar Rao told reporters here today.

Expressing her support and sympathy to Jayalalithaa, who stepped out of a Bangalore jail on Saturday after the Supreme Court granted her bail in an illegal assets case, Maneka Gandhi in a letter had yesterday said she hoped to see the AIADMK chief "formally back at the helm of administration again."

Replying to queries if the BJP was cosying up towards AIADMK, he said,"Our opposition to AIADMK is in no way diluted in Tamil Nadu. We have a defined target of capturing power in Tamil Nadu."

BJP had fought the Lok Sabha elections in the state against AIADMK and DMK by forming a rainbow alliance of parties such as PMK and MDMK and won two out of the 39 seats.

On speculation about superstar Rajinikanth joining BJP and entreaties by saffron party to him to join the party, he said "we have never said that Rajinikanth is going to join BJP on a particular date."

Agreeing that interactions did take place between the party and the actor, Rao said the actor had "expressed good things for us."

After the "stupendous victory" in Maharashtra and Haryana, BJP will "take up work in south India very seriously and Tamil Nadu is the epicentre of our focus," he said.

On boats of Tamil fishermen being held up by Sri Lanka, he said it was in the interest of the island nation to release boats and solve problems of fishermen. "This can be done with flexibility, sensitivity and creativity."

As regards the Tamils issue in the island nation, he said "resolution through devolution (of power) is the only solution."