BJP toying with idea of going it alone in civic polls

‘This could be a precursor to 2021’

Updated - November 21, 2019 04:50 am IST

Published - November 21, 2019 01:06 am IST - CHENNAI

BJP cadres with party symbol. File photo.

BJP cadres with party symbol. File photo.

A section of leaders in the BJP’s Tamil Nadu unit is toying with the idea of parting company with the ruling AIADMK and fighting the proposed local body polls alone, with the hope of consolidating its vote share. Though this issue has not come up for discussion officially, multiple leaders in the party said the idea was being examined.

On Wednesday BJP State Secretary K.T. Raghavan and spokesperson Sekar reacted strongly to the AIADMK government’s decision to hold indirect polls for the posts of Mayors and Chairpersons of urban local bodies.

The BJP has invited applications from ticket aspirants for all local body posts. “We have asked them to apply for every seat and to prepare for the polls. Whether we will be in the AIADMK-led alliance or fight alone, we will see depending on what our Central leadership says. But we don’t want to end up not being prepared when the polls are announced,” a senior leader told The Hindu.

Another leader said the party wanted to give opportunities to its cadre this time around, as they managed to win a “fairly decent number” of municipal corporation seats in 2011. A district unit leader reasoned that the civic polls will be a stepping stone for the BJP to identify its strengths ahead of the 2021 Assembly polls.

“While one view is that we will go by what our State core committee and Central party observers decide, the other view — a majority view across the district units — is that this can be a precursor to the 2021 Assembly polls and we need to fight it alone,” the leader said.

According to him, the only opportunity for the BJP in South India at this point in time, to try to come to power, is in T.N. “The local body polls can be a training ground for the State unit for the Assembly polls,” he said.

But former BJP State president L. Ganesan, who is part of the core committee, said no discussion on these lines had taken place. “Nothing has happened [for us] to say we will not be in an alliance for the local body polls,” he said. He, however, pointed out that the BJP had to make inroads into T.N.

When asked if that meant it will not be a part of the alliance, he said, “Imagine that there is no alliance tomorrow. If we field candidates in all the seats, it will show how much we have grown…that we have made inroads into T.N.”

But he added, “There is no question of going it alone — that is only imaginary.”

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