The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) inducted the daughter of slain sandalwood smuggler Veerappan – Vidya Rani – as a new member on Sunday. In an event organised in Tamil Nadu's Krishnagiri, the party gave membership to thousands of workers from other political parties. Party general secretary Muralidhar Rao and former Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan were present at the event.
"I want to work for the poor and underprivileged irrespective of their caste and religion. PM Modi's schemes are for the people and I want to take them to the people," said Vidya. She further said that she "wants to uplift people through education, irrespective of their caste and religion."
The BJP is in alliance with Tamil Nadu's ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) under the NDA umbrella. The state will head to polls in May 2021. The BJP has been actively expanding its footprint in the southern state by inducting members from rivals parties.
A native of Mysore, Veerappan was a dreaded bandit, poacher, and smuggler who carried out his activities in the forests of the southern states of Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu. He was wanted for the murders of more than 120 people, the poaching of over 2,000 elephants, and the smuggling of millions of dollars of sandalwood and ivory. He gained notoriety throughout India and evaded arrest for nearly 20 years. Veerappan was finally killed by the Tamil Nadu State Special Task Force in 2004 when AIADMK supremo J Jayalalitha was Chief Minister.
(With ANI inputs)