Union minister Ramdas Athawale on Tuesday appealed to the All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the breakaway party Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam in Tamil Nadu to come together and join the National Democratic Alliance in the upcoming General Elections, PTI reported.

“If AIADMK joins hands with the NDA it would benefit the state and the AIADMK as well,” he told reporters, on a visit to Puducherry. Athawale, who is the chief of the Republican Party of India (A), a member of the National Democratic Alliance, also urged Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam founder TTV Dhinakaran to join hands with the AIADMK.

“Like how Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam came together, AMMK general secretary TTV Dhinakaran should bury his differences with the parent party [AIADMK],” Athawale was quoted as saying by The Hindu. “The joining of AIADMK and AMMK in the NDA fold would benefit Tamil Nadu.”

Dhinakaran was expelled from the ruling AIADMK in 2017 after which he launched the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam in March last year.

Athawale said the parties should join hands to take on the Opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led front in Tamil Nadu in the Lok Sabha elections.

Athawale’s comments come days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said during an meeting with Bharatiya Janata Party workers in Tamil Nadu that his party was open to alliances and “cherished our old friends”.

On the Congress and regional parties forming an alliance to fight the Lok Sabha polls, Athawale said it would not have any impact. “Modi is a good captain like Virat Kohli of the Indian cricket team,” Athawale added.

Athawale, who is a Dalit leader and a Minister of State for Social Justice, claimed that several parties were opposed to Modi as he was from an Other Backward Community.