In a tough message to the BJP, the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu has said that it does not need a “national party as ally if it is going to dictate”, making it clear that it won’t play second fiddle. Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami will be the AIADMK’s face as it seeks reelection when the southern state votes in a few months, the party made it clear on Sunday, days after the BJP’s Prakash Javadekar had refused to comment on Mr Palaniswami being the chief ministerial candidate.
AIADMK MP KP Munusamy, who is also the deputy coordinator for the state elections, said on Sunday his party will lead the poll alliance. “If any national party wants to dictate otherwise, they’re welcome to not to be a part of the amalgam,” he underlined. Tamil Nadu elections are due in May 2021.
The BJP doesn’t have an MLA or an MP in the state, which may have prompted the AIADMK’s terse remark. In power for nine years the AIADMK government faces anti-incumbency, and had suffered a near rout in the national elections last year fought in alliance with the BJP.
Mr Palaniswami hopes the government funded 7.5 per cent reservation for government school students in medical admission, 2,000 Amma Mini Clinics launched across the state, investments that he drew would put him in good stead, apart from the handling of the Covid crisis.
The remarks also come at a time when the BJP may have hoped to win an endorsement from megastar Rajinikanth, who returned to Chennai this morning after brief hospitalisation in Hyderabad. He was scheduled to announce the launch date of his new political party on December 31, an event that the superstar’s fans and admirers hope won’t be cancelled. The 70-year-old is likely to play a key role in the state elections.
Trouble is also brewing for the BJP with ally Nitish Kumar in Bihar where the JDU has openly expressed displeasure over several issues, starting with the situation in Arunachal Pradesh, where six MLAs of the party have joined the BJP, leaving it with only one MLA in the state assembly.
Last week, the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party led by Hanuman Beniwal on Saturday said it was quitting the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance over the farmers’ protest against new agriculture laws. In September, the Akali Dal had quit the NDA over the laws; the Shiv Sena had quit the NDA last year.