Congress and BJP struggle with Dravidian allies in Tamil Nadu
The ruling AIADMK and the opposition DMK have blamed their allies - the BJP and the Congress - for the discord in their alliances.Updated: Jan 14, 2020 22:57 IST
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress are struggling with their respective Dravidan allies in Tamil Nadu, the ruling AIADMK and the opposition DMK as their competing ambitions collide ahead of assembly polls scheduled early next year with two regional parties blaming the two national parties for the discord in their relationships.
While the AIADMK leader, and Minister D Jayakumar hit out at former Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan in Tuesday for describing Tamil Nadu as a camp of terrorists, DMK Principal Secretary, and former Union Minister TR Baalu lambasted the state Congress leadership for criticizing the Dravidian major’s practice of coalition dharma in the recently held Local Body polls and cited it as the reason for staying away from the anti-CAA meeting called by the national party on Monday in Delhi.
The DMK-Congress spat began on Friday when Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President KS Alagiri and Congress Legislature Council President K R Ramasamy claimed that the DMK has not adhered to the coalition dharma in the rural civic polls.
A day after this, Congress failed to support the DMK in electing the Chairman for Pudukottai district panchayat. In Pudukkottai, DMK won 11 out of 21 district panchayat wards. AIADMK won merely eight councillors, and Congress got two councillors. But with the help of one DMK panchayat member who turned rebel and two Congress councillors support, the AIADMK won the Chairmanship. Similarly the DMK and Congress had a fall out in Annavasal and Palladam union Panchayats regarding electing a vice-chairman.
An immediate fallout was that DMK skipped the anti-CAA all-party meeting in Delhi which the Congress had called despite its leader Baalu being in the capital on Monday.
Baalu said that DMK could not attend the Congress organized meeting as the party’s state chief criticized the DMK for shallow reasons. “How could we attend the Congress party’s meeting while Alagiri is continously criticsing us? So, we skipped the meeting,” Baalu said.
TNCC chief Alagiri who called on Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday, however, maintained that there were no disputes in the DMK-led alliance. “DMK and Congress are standing together. There are no cracks in our alliance. Since the DMK-Congress alliance is like a family, we may have some minor problems. But, we never have any major differences in our alliance,” Alagiri told the media after meeting the Congress chief in Delhi.
When reporters questioned him about Baalu’s reasons for not attending the anti-CAA meeting of oppositions, he refused to comment on that. “Baalu is my senior. I don’t want to comment on his version of events. But I am clear that the DMK-Congress alliance is strong,” he noted.
Similarly there has been trouble in the AIADMK-BJP alliance ever since BJP leader Radhakrishnan made a statement criticising the TN Government. “Tamil Nadu has become a camp for terrorists over the years. But the government is not taking steps to finish off terrorism. I have been saying this since Jayalalithaa’s term,” Pon Radhakrishnan had told the media at Ariyalur on Saturday.
Countering the BJP leader, Jayakumar said Radhakrishnan’s statement was incorrect. “While the Union Government has lauded the TN government, Radhakrishnan’s statement is going against that. I don’t know whether the BJP leader is criticizing the AIADMK out of frustration as he could not get the BJP state president’s post. Also, I would like to question Radhakrishnan what contribution he had done to the state while he was the union minister,” Jayakumar said.
“I hope it is the personal statement of Radhakrishnan and it is not the view of BJP,” he added.
R Mani, a political analyst, said issues in the two alliances should be understood due to the competing ambitions of the national parties in the state.
“It is obvious that the recent election results saw the AIADMK lose minorities votes because of being aligned with the BJP, even as the saffron party wants to grow in the state. The friction is due to these competing aspirations,” Mani said.
In the DMK-Congress alliance the national party is aware of its importance in the state and thus was driving a hard bargain, he added. “Though Congress is not in a position to win even a single seat without the DMK, the national party is also the deciding factor in 40 to 50 legislative assembly constituencies in the deep South. So, DMK and Congress have a mutual benefit in the alliance and the current posturing is a prelude to tough bargaining for the assembly polls ahead. ” he said.