Tie-up may upset allies, especially DMDK and PMK

The BJP’s interest in the AIADMK is part of a larger strategy to push the strength of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) beyond the 300-mark in the Lok Sabha. But this may not go down well with its allies in Tamil Nadu.

A senior BJP functionary told The Hindu from New Delhi that channels of communication between the two parties remained open. “We are in touch,” he leader said, adding that Chief Minister Jayalalithaa would reveal her strategy only after the results were out.

Meanwhile, in Tamil Nadu, senior BJP leaders said that while the party’s central leadership was confident of crossing the half-way mark with the existing allies, both party president Rajnath Singh and prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi felt that a slim majority might not be enough to manage Parliament effectively.

This means widening the alliance by taking significant regional players on board.

“Though formal talks will happen only after we get the actual numbers on May 16, the central leadership feels we need as many MPs as possible to back us in Parliament,” a senior leader said, speaking on condition of anonymity. A few exit polls have indicated that the AIADMK might emerge as the third largest party in the country. However, the BJP will find it hard to convince its allies — the MDMK, the PMK and the DMDK— who have been critical of the AIADMK in the recent past. “If need be, we believe we could convince the MDMK and the PMK. It is the DMDK which will take more efforts. But all this would depend on what the parties score,” said the leader.

Sources in the DMDK and the PMK indicated that their leadership was not happy with reports of the BJP trying to open channels of communication with the AIADMK.

A senior DMDK leader said the party wanted the existing alliance with the BJP to continue for the 2016 Assembly elections. “Our leader Vijayakant has said during the campaign that he wants to be Chief Minister in 2016. The existing alliance is the best bet for it. We cannot co-exist with the AIADMK,” he said.

He said the BJP made it clear that even if it secured a majority, it would accommodate the allies in the government. “We are certain Mr. Modi will keep up this promise.” Sources in the PMK said party founder S. Ramadoss was unhappy with the way his party was treated during the seat-sharing talks. He would be the last person to support the idea of the BJP taking the support of the AIADMK. “During our campaign, we declared that the AIADMK was our foremost rival for the government, led by Jayalalithaa, arresting many of our workers,” a senior leader said.