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TN Coalition Captaincy Claim Rocks NDA

BJP is facing an ally crisis as DMDK and PMK threat to follow Vaiko’s example if demands are ignored

Published: 21st December 2014 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st December 2014 12:19 AM   |  A+A-

TN-Coalition

CHENNAI: Alliance troubles are far from being over for the BJP in Tamil Nadu where the saffron party has set its sight on the 2016 Assembly elections. Even after the exit of Vaiko, charging the Narendra Modi government with not doing enough for the Sri Lankan Tamils, the NDA in the state remains a divided house. Bringing to end the hopes of ensuring an element of cohesion in the combine, another important constituent, party-hopper PMK has started upping the ante.

As if preparing the ground for deserting the front, PMK leader S Ramadoss has demanded that the BJP accept its leadership to face the Assembly polls. The OBC Vanniyar-dominant party has just stopped short of announcing the heir-apparent Anbumani Ramadoss as its chief ministerial candidate. This certainly is no sweet music for the BJP, which is gearing up to position itself as the alternative to the AIADMK as well as the DMK. Needless to say, too many contenders for the CM’s gaddi will only spoil the broth.

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Given the fluid political situation in Tamil Nadu in the wake of the conviction of AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa and the DMK in the 2G spectrum scam case, the BJP hopes to fill the vacuum. With a recent survey indicating that the party’s vote share has almost doubled, it has embarked on an ambitious ‘Mission 122’—securing 122 seats of the 234 constituencies. After Vaiko’s MDMK, the PMK with over 4 per cent vote share appearing to follow suit has put spokes in this plan. Not surprisingly, Ramadoss  senior has maintained that the reasons which made MDMK to walk out apply to PMK as well.

What should not be lost sight of is the fact that the rumblings in the saffron combine is playing out in the open days ahead of BJP president Amit Shah’s visit to the state on Saturday. This power tussle would further compound his woes in working out a scheme to annex the Dravidian heartland. For the BJP, Tamil Nadu is a virgin territory where it continues to be on the margins. Only in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the party was able to cobble up an alliance after painstaking efforts.  And the combine put up a creditable performance, garnering 18.5 per cent popular votes with the BJP accounting for 5.5 per cent.

If the silence of actor-turned politico Vijayakanth, the dominant partner in the NDA, was a consolation for the BJP till now, it also appears to have vanished into thin air. Not lagging behind, he too had made it clear that his DMDK alone would lead the alliance. And he had chosen to declare this from his home town Madurai, from where he launched the party in 2005. The DMDK which had over 10 per cent of the popular vote in the 2011 civic elections witnessed its share plummet to half of that in the Lok Sabha polls, causing a heartburn. As such, he is no more prepared to allow things lying down.

But what fails the NDA from holding the allies together? With a majority of its own in Parliament, the BJP has not cared to keep the allies in good humour. “In the absence of consultations, the constituents are at a loss over the BJP bombarding with the ‘Hindutva agenda’, which they find unpalatable. Further, these pro-Tamil parties, which have outlived their utility in the political space, are apprehensive of the BJP making them redundant by eating into their support base. Hence, they are moving away driven by the quest for political survival,” says R Thirunavukkarasu, who teaches Sociology at the University of Hyderabad. “The NDA in Tamil Nadu was a marriage of convenience and divorce was expected anytime” was his reasoning.

 With inputs from N Ravi Kumar



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