BJP looking to strengthen base in Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa’s four-year sentence in the disproportionate assets case and her expected absence from active politics will give the Bharatiya Janata Party an opportunity to spread its wings in the State.

By winning a seat in the Lok Sabha election in the State, the BJP secured a toehold in Tamil Nadu on the back of a “rainbow alliance” with smaller parties and is looking to build on that.

Speaking to The Hindu , the party’s general secretary in charge of Tamil Nadu, Muralidhar Rao, said the BJP plan would depend on what bearing the verdict would have on Tamil Nadu politics and what shape it would take in the coming days.

Informed sources in the BJP feel that Tamil Nadu politics is on the verge of a change. According to them, despite its captive vote base, the DMK and its leadership are in a state of transition. The Congress is going down all over the country and Tamil Nadu is no exception. And with Ms. Jayalalithaa out of the scene, the State is wide open for the BJP. Incidentally, the BJP has demanded the Chief Minister’s resignation.

“The ideology of Dravidian politics based on atheism and anti-north and anti-Hindi sentiments is not so strong now. DMK treasurer M.K. Stalin’s wishes this year on Vinayaka Chaturthi and such things are entering the DMK headquarters now. The BJP has already made its entry in the State in the Lok Sabha election. We definitely are looking to build on that,” said a party leader involved in southern politics.

Although the party is more eloquent on its “look east” policy in its fresh innings at the Centre under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it has already left its footprints in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu albeit with alliance partners. In fact, political observers feel that it has been the BJP’s modus operandi to build alliances with strong regional partners till it is in a position to go it alone as happened in Maharashtra, Haryana and Bihar.

The BJP sources say there is scope for the saffron party in Tamil Nadu as its “appeal and acceptability” is on the rise as was apparent from Mr. Modi’s successful campaign rallies in the State during the Lok Sabha election.

Notwithstanding Ms. Jayalalithaa’s personal equation with Mr. Modi, the party managers say that when it comes to politics in Tamil Nadu, the BJP’s course will depend on the situation that prevails in her absence. Whether the BJP will form an alliance with the DMK or the AIADMK minus Ms. Jayalalithaa will depend on the local situation.

“We have done business with the DMK as well as the AIADMK, and neither is untouchable for us. But it is clear that the BJP will have a bearing on the future politics of Tamil Nadu,” a BJP leader said.

On the speculation that the BJP may tie up with the DMK for the 2016 Assembly elections, CPI leader D. Raja, who is from Tamil Nadu, said it was too early to say anything, but if the Dravidian party were to do that, it would lose its Dalit and Muslim base.

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2022 8:40:14 pm |