Amit Shah, Rahul Gandhi begin groundwork in Tamil Nadu ahead of 2019 polls
Despite not tasting much electoral success in the state, the BJP seems to be determined to make a mark and is coming up with new strategies to outwit the AIADMK and DMK.india Updated: Jun 21, 2018 07:18 IST
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress have started their groundwork in Tamil Nadu ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha polls.
Tamil Nadu, with 39 LS seats, is likely to play a key role in determining who comes to power at the Centre. After the demise of AIADMK chief J Jayalalitha and the ongoing battle within DMK to succeed Karunanidhi, national parties feel that the state’s political space, which used to be dominated by Dravidan parties, has opened up, political observers say.
BJP national president Amit Shah is expected to visit Tamil Nadu to address the party’s core committee members and workers in Chennai on July 9 and TN Pradesh Congress committee (TNPCC) chief Su Thirunavukkarasar says he has invited party president Rahul Gandhi to attend a conference.
Despite not tasting much electoral success in the state, the BJP seems to be determined to make a mark and is coming up with new strategies to outwit the AIADMK and DMK. The party has already held an SC/ST unit state conference at Villupuram in May and hopes to reach out to the OBC vote bank through its ‘Mandhira Maalai’ conference.
“There are only ten months left for Lok Sabha elections and our national high command has directed us to begin work. As part of our election strategy, the BJP is bringing various OBC leaders and communities together in our party conference — Mandhira Maalai — on July 7”, Tamilisai Sounderrajan, state BJP president, said.
The BJP is believed to be wooing Vanniyars — the majority OBC community in Tamil Nadu. To do this the BJP is said to be looking at poaching some of the office bearers of Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) — a party which has its origins in Vanniyar Sangam, an accusation that was made by PMK’s founder S Ramadoss recently.
Tamilisai said Shah will chair a meeting of party office bearers on July 9. “After the Mandhira Malai conference, the OBC leaders who have joined our party will also have meet Amit Shah,” she said.
Aazhi Senthil Nathan, a political observer from Chennai, said despite its efforts the party might still find it difficult ti become a key player in the state. “Amit Shah may have been very successful in his social engineering strategies in north India. But in Tamil Nadu, this is an age-old formula followed by almost every party (in the state).”
Meanwhile, the Congress is keen to regain its lost ground in the state and Rahul’s proposed visit, likely to happen next month, is being looked as part of its strategy to bounce back in TN. “The PCC president had a detailed discussion with Rahul Gandhi on the political scenario in Tamil Nadu. A conference to be addressed by Rahul will be organised keeping in mind the elections,” a party insider says.
First Published: Jun 21, 2018 07:13 IST