Of late, there has been a lot of buzz about the AIADMK and the BJP inching ever closer to an electoral pact. Wednesday saw two meetings between senior dignitaries of the two parties.
In Chennai, Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan called on Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami. In New Delhi, two Ministers – P. Thangamani and S.P. Velumani – met Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, regarded as the Centre’s point person for matters concerning Tamil Nadu.
On the record, representatives of both parties denied that there was any political significance to the meetings. While Mr. Radhakrishnan said he had raised the need to expedite development projects in his constituency, Mr. Thangamani and Mr. Velumani said they had requested Ms. Sitharaman to use her good offices to ensure the release of around ₹3,780 crore meant for rural and urban local bodies in the State. [Mr. Velumani, who is scheduled to meet Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitely on Thursday, was reported to have told mediapersons that it was the party leadership that would decide the issue of alliance with the BJP].
However, a State Minister as well as a BJP functionary conceded that both parties had limited options as far as the Lok Sabha polls were concerned. It was increasingly becoming clear that the two parties needed each other, the Minister said.
The BJP functionary said that at a time when the Opposition was on the verge of stitching a “strong alliance” by bringing the DMK, the Congress and other parties into a coalition, the AIADMK and the BJP were “under compulsion” to come together. Otherwise, the results would be ‘disastrous’.
The Minister hinted that apart from the BJP, the ruling party was “in touch” with the Pattali Makkal Katchi. It would also like to rope in smaller parties such as the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam and the Puthiya Tamizhagam.
Though both the BJP and the AIADMK are of the view that they would stand to gain if film star Rajinikanth lends his support to them, they are not sure whether he would enter the political scene in the way another film star, Kamal Haasan, has.
As for the possibility of the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam, led by rebel leader T.T.V. Dhinakaran, merging with the AIADMK, a leader of the ruling party termed it “extremely dim”, adding that similar to what happened in the 1989 Assembly election, only an electoral setback would facilitate the merger.