AIADMK’s pro-CAA stance may cost it minority votes say analysts|Opinion
Palaniswami last week appealed to party workers and TN residents to disbelieve “rumours” that the party’s support to CAA was a stand against minorities. He slammed the opposition for false “propaganda” and said AIADMK will continue to “support” and “work hard” for minorities’ developments.Updated: Jan 02, 2020 00:17 IST
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s (AIADMK) backing for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is likely to cost it the minority votes in Tamil Nadu, say political analysts while pointing at the desertion of Muslim leaders from the party ahead of the urban local body elections slated for this year and assembly elections early next year.
While CM Edappadi K Palaniswami maintains that CAA will not affect any Indian citizens, several senior party workers including a former MP, MLA and numerous ground-level office bearers, are publicly contradicting their own party chief.
Recently AIADMK’s former MP and the minority face, Anwar Rajaa said the party will lose the community votes if it didn’t reverse its position on the CAA. “The AIADMK should not have voted for the CAA. If AIADMK doesn’t change its position, the party will lose its minority vote bank,” Rajaa had said.
Another Muslim leader, Nainar Mohamed, a former MLA from Tirunelveli district and AIADMK’s former district minorities’ wing secretary, recently quit the party in protest over its support to the CAA.
“AIADMK has not considered the interests of Muslims and voted in favour of the CAA. So, I resign from my party’s primary membership,” the former legislator said in a Facebook post.
Several ground-level party office bearers in Vellore and Ramanathapuram districts also quit showing their dissatisfaction.
Palaniswami last week appealed to party workers and TN residents to disbelieve “rumours” that the party’s support to CAA was a stand against minorities. He slammed the opposition for false “propaganda” and said AIADMK will continue to “support” and “work hard” for minorities’ developments.
“After the AIADMK supported the CAA, more than 25 Muslim outfits have conducted anti-CAA rallies in TN for the past few days, said Babu Jayakumar, a noted political analyst.
He said the Muslim outfits used to maintain equal distance from all parties in the past but were now, inviting speakers from the Congress, DMK, and MDMK to address their rallies.
“TN has more than 15% of minority voters. So, the AIADMK is feeling the heat and is anxious about the electoral impact it may have,” said Jayakumar.
He says AIADMK has reasons to be worried since the Muslims vote could prove to be the difference between winning and losing the urban local body elections and the 2021 state polls.
“The AIADMK lost the Vellore Lok Sabha elections in August by a wafer-thin margin of around 8000 votes. It was only due to the minorities deserting the party in areas like Ambur and Vaniyambadi and Vellore assembly segments,” Jayakumar said.
Another political analyst Aazhi Senthilnathan says AIADMK’s desire for a good relationship with the BJP led central government might help it now at the cost of the future.
“The AIADMK is seen kowtowing to the BJP. If the BJP led union government implements something, the AIADMK is the first party to support it. It is because the AIADMK wants to have a good relationship with the BJP until it completes its current term,” said Senthilnathan.
“It seems the party leaders are more worried about completing their current tenure rather than focus on the future,” Senthilnathan added.
However, AIADMK spokesperson Babu Murugavel dismissed the apprehensions. “Our party is clear that we will always protect the rights of Muslims in TN. CAA will not affect any Indian citizens. We are not concerned. We just want to remove the misconception created by opposition parties in the mind of the minorities,” Murugavel told HT.