Their agendas could be diametrically opposite, yet they are part of a rainbow NDA coalition. The manifesto of the BJP, released on Monday, showcased its deep differences with other constituents of the NDA, which are offshoots of Dravidian politics.
On many issues, including a separate Eelam, Ram Temple, Article 370, Sethu Samudaram project and the Uniform Civil Code, the party is not on the same page with its allies and the most visible one is the festering ethnic crisis in Sri Lanka.
The differences within the coalition partners was earlier came to the fore when the pro-LTTE MDMK released its manifesto, calling for rechristening the country as ‘United States of India’ on the American model. Distancing from the call, BJP stalwart M Venkaiah Naidu added that his party was not in favour of carving out a Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka.
The manifesto dubbing the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) as a miserable failure would also have come as a shocker for the PMK. For, it was a flagship project of former Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss, who was instrumental in the PMK joining the rainbow coalition. However, a PMK leader said the party was only a part of the NDA and each party can have its own views.
Further, both the PMK, engaged in an anti-Dalit mobilisation, and the KMDK, have demanded scrapping of the Prevention of Atrocities (SC/ST) Act. But the BJP steered clear of the issue.
The seven party combine comprises the BJP, Vijayakant’s DMDK, Vaiko’s MDMK, PMK, KDMK, IJK of media baron Pari Vendhar and Puthiya Neethi Katchi of A C Shanmugham.
Though these parties do not see eye to eye on many issues with the BJP, they prefer to keep the differences under wraps. What keeps them united is, apparently, the prospect of winning a few seats and sharing power at the Centre.