NEW DELHI: With former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa apparently leaving behind a political vacuum, the BJP is keeping a close eye on developments in the State, besides laying bridges with the top leadership of the AIADMK. The BJP appears to have taken the responsibility to ward off any attempts to destabilise the State government and extend helping hands in the transition of the leadership.
“We have been keeping a close watch on political developments in Tamil Nadu. The party had been in touch with the Deputy Speaker in the Lok Sabha and senior AIADMK leader M Thambidurai, besides Sasikala Natrajan, the trusted lieutenant of former chief minister. The views within the BJP suggest a phase of political instability in the State,” said a senior BJP leader.
Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting M Venkaiah Naidu along with the Union Minister of State Pon Radhakrishnan have been designated by the NDA government and BJP chief Amit Shah to extend “all cooperation” to the AIADMK leadership for smooth transition and stability in the government, sources said.
Even though Jayalalithaa had sought to maintain a distance from the NDA, the BJP is hopeful that the AIADMK would be inching closer to the saffron party in the future.
“The DMK will be waiting for an opportunity to trigger instability in the State politics. The BJP has a role cut out for the party to drop an anchor of stability. That Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Jayalalithaa had been close friends would make it convenient for the saffron party to work on its roles after the demise of the popular leader,” added the BJP functionary.
Southern states, including Tamil Nadu, are apparently on top of the agenda of the BJP for expansion, even though much of focus in the recent times was to Kerala.
“The BJP will look forward to gain more foothold in Tamil Nadu. The party had four Lok Sabha MPs in 1999. The political vacuum offers an opportunity for the BJP to expand its base. With the Prime Minister enjoying a pan-India appeal, the BJP will seek to invest energy in the State with a long term action plan. We are not seeking immediate political gains,” said the BJP functionary.
With 37 MPs in the Lok Sabha and 13 in the Rajya Sabha, the AIADMK has a lot of clout in Parliament, with the NDA looking for their support during passage of key Bills.