I went against family wishes to join BJP in 1996: Tamilisai Soundrajan

She talks in detail about how was growing up Kanyakumari and what was her father’s reaction when she intended to join BJP as her father was a Congress leader at that time.

| Updated: 17 April, 2024 6:11 pm IST

Chennai : As the Lok Sabha elections draw near, with only three days remaining, The New Indian team has reached to the southern state of Tamil Nadu to capture the election fervor. In Chennai, BJP’s firebrand leader Tamilsai Soundararajan, who once spearheaded the saffron party’s state campaign as the president of the Tamil Nadu BJP and served under then BJP president Amit Shah, has stepped into the electoral fray. Soundararajan, an MBBS doctor from Tamil Nadu, has resigned from her position as the Governor of Telangana—a role in which she also oversaw Puducherry—to contest the Chennai South Lok Sabha seat.

She talks in detail about how was growing up Kanyakumari and what was her father’s reaction when she intended to join BJP as her father was a Congress leader at that time.


Rohan Dua: These stretches that we see, the highways, the flyovers, and the metro corridors being built. What would you like to bring to this state when you become an MP?

Tamilsai Soundrajan : First of all, it’s very, very unfortunate. Everyone thinks that compared to Central and North Chennai, it’s believed that South Chennai is a developed segment. Tidel Park is there, IT Park is there, and flyovers are there. Metro rails are there, but when we see the basic amenities, facilities, and infrastructure, it’s totally misgoverned. For example, the people were suffering from floods, and they are alleging that our Honorable Prime Minister did not come. Prime Minister sent our Honorable Raksha Mantri, Honorable Finance Minister, but Stalin himself did not visit.

The South Chennai candidate did not visit the flood-affected areas. This was in December when the floods came. And there is no infrastructure. No stormwater drainage. No sewage water drainage. No garbage clearance. No concrete roads. So, it’s a very bad situation in Chennai. And another thing. Even Puducherry has 25 e-buses. Hyderabad has more than 100 e-buses. Not even a single one, it’s a cosmopolitan city. Not even a single e-bus has been introduced. So, what Stalin says, only he plays an emotional card. But he doesn’t involve in any developmental activities. That is the type of politics they do.


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Rohan Dua: I must also ask you the question that when you were growing up in Kanyakumari, that must have been very colorful memories of Kanyakumari.

Tamilsai Soundrajan : I was born in Kanyakumari, I was a school-going girl. And post emergency my father was elected as MP from Kanyakumari, the old Congress. And that parliament was dissolved within two and a half years. But as a daughter, I used to travel with him during election times like this to help him. So I used to watch the BJP Karyakartas very sincerely working. Putting the saffron flag on their head and very enthusiastically working. So that drew my attention. It was 1996. That was also the time when BJP was working and establishing itself in Kanyakumari.Kanyakumari is the stronghold of BJP. Then 1999 after completing my post-graduation, I took a decision to join BJP. But my father strongly opposed it because traditionally my family is a Congress family. Both my grandparents were freedom fighters. And my father was six-time MLA and one-time MP from Congress. And my own paternal uncle was sitting MP from Kanyakumari. And now my cousin is the sitting MP from Kanyakumari from Congress.

1999, September 17th, I joined as a Karyakarta of BJP. And this 2024, I complete 25 years as a BJP Karyakarta. Wow, that’s huge. My question to you is that when you look at the BJP Karyakarta, when you look at the careers of Kanimuri, when you look at the careers of Uday Nedi, Stalin, or for that matter, any of the people from DMK, there’s a charge of dynasty politics on them. Yes. Their businesses are growing. If their businesses, whether it is the Sun TV network or whether it is a bouquet of TV channels they have built.

Rohan Dua:  I fail to understand why the voters do not understand the fact that if one family is getting rich and powerful, why not the local people here seeing the development? Do you see that the blame is only on the dynasty politics or is there more behind this?

Tamilsai Soundrajan : The people understand, but cash for vote is more prevalent in Tamil Nadu. So the marginalized people, street dwellers, and others were given money to vote. This significantly influences the election outcome. Even I was unsuccessful in Tutukudi because I am a straightforward politician and a doctor. I always maintain that my coat is white, and my note is also white.

Kanimuri, being a chief minister’s daughter involved in the 2G scam, spent a lot of money. So mainly, the BJP was unable to compete. They spent money on votes, buying them. This practice is unfortunate and prevalent in the southern part of Tamil Nadu, which we are trying to oppose and combat. This type of politics has fortified the Dravidian party for 50 years. They often focus on reservations, emotions, and language differences, creating emotionally charged issues. Manipulation and corrupt practices are common in both the ADFG and ADFG parties, who earn and spend during election times.

Rohan Dua: If you have to choose the best food between Telangana, is it Salad? Malvapindi, Malidalu, Garijalu, Pachi Palsu or Uthappam and lemon rice or Chettinad dish in Tamil Nadu?

Tamilsai Soundrajan : Chettinad dish in Tamil Nadu but I don’t disown Telangana food also because I love Telangana food. I started loving Telangana lemon rice also. Really? Yes. Yes.

Rohan Dua: The second question is vacationing on the beaches of Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, or vacationing near Charminar or other temples or Golconda fort in Hyderabad?

Tamilsai Soundrajan   No, no. I will start my vacation from Hyderabad, travel to Chennai and complete it in Puducherry.

Rohan Dua: Going back to the memories of Kanyakumari and then doing MBBS or choosing a political career forever in the next birth and this birth as well?

Tamilsai Soundrajan: No, I want to be a politician always than a physician because my passion is politics. So, I want to be a politician

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