BJP will ‘show stellar performance in TN,’ says Javadekar; evades questions on AIADMK alliance
Union minister Prakash Javadekar on Friday remained non-committal on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) plans with their ally, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), for the ensuing 2021 assembly elections in Tamil Nadu.
Javadekar met reporters in Chennai after speaking at a farmer’s meet organised by the BJP in Chengalpattu district earlier in the day. While highlighting the benefits of the three new farm bills, he challenged Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to debate on the Centre’s legislation.
Stating that the “BJP is rising” and the “Congress is diminishing”, Javadekar listed nine elections where the BJP stepped up its performance such as in Bihar, Jammu-Kashmir and Hyderabad, among others.
“From the analysis of these nine election results, I’m confident that the BJP will show a stellar performance in Tamil Nadu elections also,” said Javadekar. “PM Modi’s credibility and leadership are the two basic reasons for the rise of the BJP.” When asked about how would the party improve its poor show in the state (vote share of 2.8 per cent in 2016 assembly polls and 3.6 per cent in 2019 parliamentary elections), Javadekar said, “In the last assembly elections in Bengal, we got (less than) 10 per cent vote and during this Lok Sabha, we got 40 per cent vote, so politics changes on the basis of credibility and leadership.”
However, when posed with questions on whether the alliance with the AIADMK will continue and if the national leadership will endorse Tamil Nadu chief minister and AIADMK’s co-coordinator Edappadi Palaniswami as the chief ministerial candidate, Javadekar pointed to AIADMK MP A Navaneethakrishnan seated in the audience and said, “That is the answer.” The question is if the BJP would accept the AIADMK as the leader of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Tamil Nadu, he said.
The AIADMK, which is seeking a third consecutive term in the upcoming assembly polls, had announced Palaniswami as its candidate for the top job in October. In November, during Union home minister Amit Shah’s visit to Chennai, Palaniswami made a public statement that their alliance will continue. Without reciprocation, the state BJP leaders have welcomed the AIADMK’s decision and maintained that decisions and announcements will be made by the central leadership.
As this stand-off escalated, BJP’s Tamil Nadu president L Murugan last week clarified that while Palaniswami continues to be the chief minister of the NDA in Tamil Nadu, any announcement will be made by the party’s national leadership. BJP party president JP Nadda was expected to review the poll situation in Tamil Nadu at the end of the month and was likely to make official announcements. Since he has tested Covid-19 positive, his visit has been postponed to mid-January, said a source in the BJP.
In a veiled reference to the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Javadekar attacked the opposition party of practising ‘family politics’ while BJP as a political party was a family in itself.
On Friday morning, A Arunachalam, who held the post of general secretary of Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) joined the BJP stating that he was unhappy with MNM’s position against the three new farm bills.