Chennai: Seeking to cash in on the "graft taint" on the two big parties of Tamil Nadu - ruling AIADMK and opposition DMK - the BJP today set an ambitious target of winning 122 plus seats in the 2016 Assembly elections and "capture power" in the state.
Although such a goal may seem unrealistic in the Tamil Nadu context where both the Dravidian parties, AIADMK and DMK, have been holding sway for decades, the BJP is apparently buoyed after its recent success in Haryana and Maharashtra.
BJP leaders at a party meet here asked "why it should not be possible" if it could happen in "Haryana and Maharashtra".
Enrolling one crore members from the present 10 lakh, strengthening party units at the grass roots level like the booth unit were among the strategies deliberated as part of the "goal 2016". The meet fixed "122 plus" seats as its target out of the total 234 in the state Assembly.
The general council meeting of the Tamil Nadu BJP was held here today in which senior leaders, including Ministers of State Pon Radhakrishnan and Rajiv Pratap Rudy participated.
The leaders while addressing partymen lashed out at the ruling AIADMK and DMK which faced corruption charges.
AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa was convicted by a court in a disproportionate asset case and leaders from DMK, including party chief M Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi have been charged in the 2G spectrum case.
Rudy, who was appointed in-charge of party affairs in Tamil Nadu before his induction into the Union Cabinet, said BJP was poised for big wins in states, including Bihar, Jharkhand and Delhi, where elections are due soon.
Citing the Haryana example, he asked, "Why it should not work for Tamil Nadu...People thought it was impossible in Maharashtra and Haryana too."
"If we can go from 8 to 36 per cent in Haryana, why cannot we go from 6-7 per cent (in Lok Sabha elections) to 36 per in Tamil Nadu...I think it is achievable," he said.
Building the party at the booth level and "motivating and connecting" with voters were important to achieve the goal, he stressed.
"We must capture power in Tamil Nadu," Pon Radhakrishnan said and urged cadres to work with that vision in mind.
Though the saffron party managed to sew up a grand alliance with local outfits like MDMK, DMDK and PMK in the Lok Sabha polls, it failed to carve out electoral space in the state and managed to win only the Kanyakumari constituency, represented by Radhakrishnan.
Senior leader L Ganesan exhorted partymen to strive towards strengthening the party at grass roots level.
Tamil Nadu BJP chief Tamilisai Soundararajan coined a slogan, "Kodi Urupinar Serpom, Tamilagathil Modi Aatchi Amaipom, (Let us enroll one crore members and usher in the rule of Modi in Tamil Nadu)."
She strongly criticised the ruling AIADMK and its chief Jayalalithaa on the assets case, her conviction and jailing.
Both AIADMK and DMK were "graft-tainted" and only BJP stood a chance to bring in the "rule of Kamaraj", she said.
By seeking to appropriate iconic Congress leader and freedom fighter Kamaraj, she hit out at Congress as well, saying, "Whatever little support it has about 4 per cent [vote share]..It would be shared by (Tamil Nadu Congress chief) Elangovan and (former Union Minister) Vasan."
Senior leader P Muralidhar Rao said Tamil Nadu politics was going through a transitional phase.
While AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa was convicted and jailed in an assets case, DMK is beset with "family politics" and facing "existential challenge".
Congress party has almost disappeared from the Tamil Nadu scenario. "A great vacuum is building up and there is a void," he said and added that the space would filled by the saffron party.