CHENNAI: Is the AIADMK trying to distance itself from the BJP — a longtime ally — ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections? A battery of senior ministers and officials have made statements in the recent past — criticising the saffron party for its local political strategies — giving room for such a speculation.
The party ruling the country taking out a religious-cum-political rally in the State, in violation of pandemic related restrictions imposed by the local government, has become the latest bone of contention. Two leaders whose statements stood out in this regard are culture minister K Pandiarajan and veteran AIADMK leader C Ponnaiyan.
Addressing the media on Tuesday, Pandiarajan said there were many ways to ensure the growth of BJP in Tamil Nadu rather than taking out the Vetrivel Yatra. “Please understand that you can contribute to the development of Tamil Nadu in various ways,” the culture minister said. “We have been appealing for a grant of `50 crore to construct a Tamil Development Centre. The scheme was accepted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi but is yet to be sanctioned by the Centre,” Pandiarajan pointed out.
“When you (local BJP leaders) meet top leaders such as Amit Shah, request for the approval of such schemes. You will then win a permanent place in the hearts of people.” Along with that advice, the minister also pointed out the reason for denying permission for the yatra. “There is a threat of Covid spreading due to such a mass gathering.
There could be a security threat. If something untoward happens, the blame will be passed on to the State government.” Responding to the BJP allegation that Christians alone were allowed to carry out Palm Sunday processions, Pandiarajan said the reason was that there was no “political motive” there. “Making such statements will give the wrong impression to Christians.
Such remarks will not help (the BJP) in ensuring growth.” Along with Pandiarajan’s advise came a more aggressive statement from Ponnaiyan, who said the “AIADMK was not afraid of the BJP-ruled Centre.”
Speaking on the issue, he said: “We are a Dravidian movement, and our ideologies are different from that of the BJP. We want all religions and its peoples -- be it Hindus, Christians, or Muslims.
This political party that is organising the Vel Yatra has no popularity among the public in Tamil Nadu.” He also pointed out that overall, people in the State were upset with the BJP-ruled Centre. “We have been opposing NEET and the three-language formula in the National Education Policy because they are not acceptable in the State. We have not benefitted from GST as, despite many reminders, the Centre is yet to disburse the State’s share of `16,000 crore. Further, the Centre also did not act fairly on water sharing issues with regards to Mullaiperiyar and Cauvery.”
Minister Pandiarajan shows the way
Culture Minister K Pandiarajan, while addressing the press, in reference to BJP State unit, said, “Please understand that you can contribute to the development of Tamil Nadu in various ways,” the culture minister said. “We have been appealing for a grant of `50 crore to construct a Tamil Development Centre. The scheme was accepted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi but is yet to be sanctioned by the Centre.”