BJP-AIADMK alliance buzz grows as Narendra Modi visits Tamil Nadu today
Tamil Nadu chief minister Edapapdi K Palansiwami is sharing the stage with PM Narendra Modi because the agenda involves the launch of several projects. This is the second time the PM is visiting the state within a fortnight.Updated: Feb 10, 2019 06:59 IST
Will they? Won’t they?
That’s been the question uppermost on the minds of most political analysts in Tamil Nadu on a possible alliance between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the state’s ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).
Some say that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is speaking at a BJP election rally in Tamil Nadu’s hosiery hub Tirupur on Sunday, is likely to indicate the possible direction.
Chief minister Edapapdi K Palansiwami is sharing the stage with PM Modi because the agenda also involves the launch of several projects. This is the second time the PM is visiting the state within a fortnight.
On January 27, he addressed a rally in Madurai during he which he hit out at the alliance between the Congress and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and welcomed all former allies to partner with the BJP. Both the AIADMK and DMK have previously been part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, although not in its current avatar.
Speculation is rife in Chennai that an announcement of a BJP- AIADMK alliance is imminent.
While officially, the AIADMK’s response has ranged from outright denial to silence on the issue, in private, some leaders have admitted that talks are indeed on between the two parties. The AIADMK is also believed to be holding talks with the other backward class (OBC) Vanniyar-dominated Pattali Makkal Katchi, the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK of actor Vijayakanth as well as Puthiya Thamizhagam of Dr K Krishnasamy.
Tirupur, where the PM is addressing the rally, is believed to be on the wish list of the BJP. Other seats that the party is eyeing are Kanyakumari, Coimbatore and Madurai, people familiar with the matter said.
Tamil Nadu sends 39 members to the Lok Sabha. In the current Lok Sabha, the AIADMK has 37 members.
“The PM’s rally will be a platform for us to reach out to voters of eight Lok Sabha constituencies — Coimbatore, Tirupur, Erode, Karur, Nilgiris, Salem, Dharmapuri and Namakkal in western Tamil Nadu. We are expecting at least 25,000 workers from each of these constituencies to participate in the public meeting. Since the BJP is strong in the western belt (of the state), the PM’s rally will further encourage party workers to carry out election work,” said SR Shekar, treasurer and spokesperson of the BJP’s Tami Nadu unit.
He added that Modi may “clear the air on (a possible) alliance” at the meeting.
AIADMK veteran and Lok Sabha deputy speaker M Thambidurai on Saturday continued his tirade against the BJP. “When BJP state chief Tamilisai Sounderrarajan has been saying that they will destroy the Dravidian parties, we cannot let them grow in Tamil Nadu...,” Thambidurai told reporters in Karur.
S Vaigaichelvan, a former minister and AIADMK spokesperson, declined comment on an alliance. “It is purely a BJP meeting. Our CM is just participating in a government event. We cannot say anything about the alliance now. The BJP rally has nothing to do with the AIADMK,” he added. Tamil Nadu Congress Committee’s new chief K S Alagiri said Congress president Rahul Gandhi and general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra would be visiting Tamil Nadu later this month.