DMK MLA Saravanan joins BJP, second legislator from Dravidian party to switch to saffron camp

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(Eds: Updates story) Chennai, Mar 14 (PTI) Weeks before assembly elections, DMK legislator P Saravanan on Sunday joined the BJP, which promptly named him the candidate from Madurai North constituency in southern Tamil Nadu.

The MLA joined the BJP protesting against what he called the 'dominance' and 'silent torture' by the district-level officer-bearers of the Dravidian party.

His name figures in the list of 17 nominees released by the BJP's Central Election Committe in Delhi. Saffron party's state unit chief L Murugan, actor-politician Khushbu Sundar, former Minister Nainar Nagendran who joined the BJP from AIADMK in 2017 were among the nominees announced by the saffron party.

The ruling AIADMK has allotted 20 Assembly seats to the BJP besides the Kanyakumari Lok Sabha constituency which would go for bypoll alongside the Assembly polls on April 6.

Saravanan, representing Tirupparankundram constituency in Madurai region, is the second DMK MLA after Ku Ka Selvam (Thousand Lights constituency here) to join the BJP ahead of the assembly polls.

Joining the BJP party in the presence of state unit president Murugan, Saravanan indicated arm-twisting by district level office-bearers as the reason for quitting the Dravidian outfit, which is leaving no stone unturned to return to power in the state after being in opposition for 10 years.

When asked if he had taken up with the DMK brass about the issues he faced, Saravanan, who was elected to the assembly in 2019 bypoll, said district secretaries gave a kind of 'silent torture' to him.

The intra-party issues were taken to the notice of second-rung leadership but to no avail, he claimed.

District secretaries ruled the roost in DMK and it caused regret to many, he alleged. Though some adapted themselves to the situation, he could not as he viewed politics only as an extension of his services to the people, he maintained.

Saravanan said he is a medical doctor, and considering his 'soft-nature' he could not put up with such an ambience in the DMK and that was why he joined the BJP.

Though the CPI(M) had not even sought Tirupparankundram constituency he represented, it was given away to the Marxist party by the DMK as part of the seat sharing exercise only due to the 'conspiracy' of the district secretary, he alleged.

'There is scope for the DMK president (MK Stalin) to be even aware of this (conspiracy),' he claimed.

The DMK MLA runs a hospital in the temple town of Madurai in southern Tamil Nadu and holds post graduate qualification in medicine. Years ago, he was with the BJP and had subsequently joined the DMK. PTI VGN VS ROH ROH