Months ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi rejected suggestions that his party is not a force in the South, especially Tamil Nadu, while not denying the possibility of joining hands with the likes of Rajinikanth or Kamal Haasan.
Speaking to ANI in his first interview of 2019, the Prime Minister was open to regional parties forming an alliance with BJP in South, and also dismissed the narrative that his party's presence in South is very limited.
"This narratives formed 30 years ago are still being repeated. Since years it was said we are North India party. We are present in the South. So this logic is not right. We are continuously striving to expand our base. We are ready to take everyone along, who want to come with us, with those with whom we can walk. It is linked to our strengthening regional aspirations," he told ANI's editor Smita Prakash.
Despite having sweeped the country in 2014, winning 282 seats on their own, one point of concern for the BJP was their performance in Tamil Nadu. The party won just one seat, and amidst the recent political scenario, with the 'Mahagathbandhan' formed, many believe that they may need the help of regional parties to put in a good performance in the state.
While Rajinikanth is yet to officially form a party of his own and pledge any kind of alliance with BJP, or any party for that matter, his acting counterpart Kamal Haasan has also kept his cards close to his chest.
Just recently, he announced that his party will contest the upcoming polls. While addressing a press briefing on December 22, the actor-turned-politician also stated that his party is open to alliances with like-minded parties which was would focus on the development of Tamil Nadu. He also asserted that he would not come in alliance with any party that will try to change the 'DNA of Tamil Nadu'.
His comments were in line with those he made at the Republic Summit 2018, wherein he stated that no alliance has been formed with any party, despite suggestions that he is part of the Mahagathbandhan.
"’I am not ready to be forced into an alliance. I am keeping my options open, but maybe is not a yes. Don’t align me with Mahagatbandhan. Keeping my options open for 2019," he said while speaking with Republic TV's editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami