CHENNAI: BJP’s perceived tight embrace of the ruling faction of AIADMK could be easing a tad, if one were to string together a series of incidents that have happened in the recent past. It may want to go back to its “alternative to both Dravidian majors in Tamil Nadu” line again, which it had not been hammering on for sometime now.
Apart from Governor Banwarilal Purohit taking ‘extra interest’ in the government’s functioning and marking his territory, senior BJP leader and Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan had poked AIADMK with some sharp comments.
In March, Radhakrishnan had said, “AIADMK has been destroyed and DMK is on its way to destruction. The space created by the Dravidian parties can be filled only by BJP.” On Tuesday, Ponnar attacked AIADMK again. Asked about the remark of Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai that the AIADMK could not be eliminated by anyone, the Union Minister quipped, “Very true. AIADMK cannot be eliminated except by themselves.”
Opposition parties had described AIADMK and BJP as natural allies in the past, but after the AIADMK’s rout in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, Jayalalithaa did not align with BJP again. However, she maintained cordial relationship till her demise last year.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, she actually took a strong anti-BJP stand despite her friend Narendra Modi being BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.
She framed the contest as ‘Modiyaa? Indha Ladiya? (Modi? Or this lady?)’. From then on BJP started harping that it was the alternative to the both Dravidian majors. In the 2014 local body polls too, Jayalalithaa was against BJP. In fact, a few BJP candidates joined the AIADMK at the eleventh hour, embarrassing the national party.
Following this, senior BJP leaders, including national general secretary Muralidhar Rao, kept up the chant of an alternative to Dravidian parties, and national president Amit Shah attacked AIADMK and DMK.
After the death of Jayalalithaa, there was a lull in the BJP’s alternative pitch. In the meantime, there were rumours that the BJP wanted to take the AIADMK on board in the NDA government after the merger of the factions led by O Panneerselvam and Edappadi K Palaniswami. However, it did not materialise.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent meeting with DMK president M Karunanidhi first triggered the speculation of BJP slowly drifting away from the AIADMK. The Governor’s hyperactivity added spice to it.
Commenting on the development, senior journalist and political analyst Tharasu Shyam said: “The BJP’s move during the past few years and the remarks now by Pon Radhakrishnan besides the Governor’s move to meet State officials clearly indicate that the BJP is making its first moves to distance itself from the AIADMK. Recently, in a strategic move, Narendra Modi met DMK president M Karunanidhi. But we should wait and watch.”
However, political commentator Ravindran Duraiswamy is of the view BJP would not drop its ties with AIADMK all of a sudden unless it finds another strong anchor. “So far, BJP has been depending on AIADMK as its sole option. The recent developments - PM’s meeting the DMK president and a few days later, the Governor’s move to hold discussions with State officials show that now BJP is playing the game between AIADMK and DMK and trying to show that AIADMK is not the only option for it. If the Governor goes on doing this, he will become a thorn in the flesh of AIADMK. As of now, unless the BJP gets another concrete option, it will not spike its equation with AIADMK.”