The lotus will definitely bloom in Tamil Nadu. Whenever Tamilisai Soundararajan uttered these words during her tenure as the BJP’s Tamil Nadu president, they used to be greeted with scorn and ridicule. A spate of memes on social media would immediately follow. Tamilisai’s confidence had looked far-fetched after her party’s severe drubbing in the 2016 assembly elections and subsequent bypolls. But, on May 11, when four BJP MLAs took oath in the Tamil Nadu assembly (after a gap of 20 years), Tamilisai, now Governor of Telangana with additional charge as Lt Governor of Pondicherry, would have helped herself to a smile of satisfaction.
The doughty doctor from Chennai, whose father was a state Congress president, had crisscrossed the state tirelessly to nurture the BJP in an unfriendly Dravidian terrain. Her successor L. Murugan maintained the momentum with his Vel Yatra and wooed celebrities from different fields to join the party. “The plan was to keep the BJP in the news as a sought-after party, while we concentrated on improving our booth committees to connect with voters,” says K.T. Raghavan, party’s state general secretary. “The state in-charge C.T. Ravi, in fact, virtually lived in Tamil Nadu during the last three months before the elections to give constant inputs.”