The battle for supremacy between VK Sasikala and O Panneerselvam in Tamil Nadu’s ruling AIADMK has triggered a war of words between the Congress and BJP, with the former accusing the latter of triggering and fuelling the chaos.
Congress said the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre is trying to exploit the situation in Tamil Nadu to get a political foothold in the state.
The BJP, which has a lone Lok Sabha MP from the state, won no seat in the 2016 assembly elections whereas the Congress, which fought the polls in alliance with DMK, has 8 MLAs.
Former chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s death in December last year has triggered a political turmoil in the state, although AIADMK has the numbers to stay in power for another four years—unless there is a split.
“The Narendra Modi government is playing a dirty game. They want to create a problem for the political parties and they want to get some advantage as BJP has no hold in Tamil Nadu. They think this an opportunity to be utilised,” state Congress president S Thirunavukkarasar was quoted by the news agency ANI as saying.
Party leader Randeep Surjewala had in a late night tweet on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “trying to bring down an elected government”.
“As Governor refuses to conduct swearing-in, an outgoing Tamil Nadu CM rebels. Is PM Modi trying to bring down one more elected Govt?” Surjewala tweeted.
In another tweet, he charged the BJP with engineering defections on the lines of Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
The BJP was quick to hit back at the Congress. Union minister Venkaiah Naidu told reporters outside Parliament, “The governor is a constitutional authority. He’s examining aspects and will take an appropriate decision. There is no reason to criticise anyone.”
Congress leader Karti Chidambaram demanded fresh elections in the state.
Governor Vidyasagar Rao, who is in Mumbai, has no plans to go to Chennai as of now, Raj Bhavan sources said in Mumbai. Rao is Maharashtra governor and holds the additional charge of Tamil Nadu. His absence in Chennai added to the crisis and allegations against the Centre that it is playing dirty.
(With inputs from agencies)