Tamil Nadu

Bypoll-scarred AIADMK rethinks ties with BJP

Sellur K. Raju

Sellur K. Raju   | Photo Credit: R_ASHOK

Minister’s statement on sticking to Jaya’s stand on alliance creates a flutter

The ruling AIADMK, perceived widely as the ‘B’ team of the BJP, has indicated that it may not be averse to distancing itself from the national party.

An indication to this effect was given by Sellur K. Raju, Cooperation Minister, at an event in Madurai on Thursday, when he said that former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was very clear that there should be “no truck with communal parties.” The Minister recalled Jayalalithaa’s observation [made in July 1999] that the party “would never again enter into any alliance” with the BJP, as it had paid a “heavy price” for having contested the elections together [in the 1998 Lok Sabha polls].

Asked to elaborate on his comments, Mr. Raju told The Hindu that the “perception” of his party being close to the BJP was “generated successfully” during the recent byelection to the Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar Assembly constituency and this was one of the reasons for its defeat. “The people’s anger that had arisen in the wake of demonetisation and the introduction of the GST was directed on us,” he explained.

Another Minister, requesting anonymity, said the State government had to be friendly with the Centre to get funds and approvals for various projects expeditiously.

This relationship should not be seen as a political alliance.

Another senior leader in the party said, “Now that we have got back the ‘two leaves’ symbol, there is a feeling as to why we should be seen as being dependent on the BJP or endorsing its actions.” When asked if recalling Jayalalithaa’s statement would mean that the AIADMK would not align with the BJP during elections in future, Mr. Raju was guarded in his reply: “I cannot say it now. The position would be decided only then.”

However, Dairy Minister K.T. Rajenthra Bhalaji said whatever Mr. Raju had stated was his personal view, and if needed, the AIADMK would align with the BJP and the party was in favour of maintaining good relationships with the Centre for the benefit of the State. Incidentally, on Thursday, AIADMK MP Anwhar Raajha was strident in his opposition to the Triple Talaq Bill tabled in Parliament, the first such opposition to the Centre in the past year.

BJP’s ally

The ruling party has come to be seen in certain quarters as an “ally” of the BJP and “subservient” to the national party. During the presidential and vice-presidential elections in July and August, the groups led by Edappadi K. Palaniswami, O. Panneerselvam and T.T.V. Dhinakaran had supported candidates put up by the national party.

The new-found bonhomie between the two sides had been on display on several occasions, with office-bearers of the BJP meeting the Chief Minister for one issue or another.

Higher Education Minister K.P. Anbalagan also took part in a function organised by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Mr. Palaniswami personally greeted the BJP’s national secretary H. Raja on the latter’s 60th birthday. It is also a fact that Mr. Raju, while citing Jayalalithaa’s opposition to a truck with the BJP, overlooked the fact that she had changed her position five years later when the AIADMK contested the 2004 Lok Sabha polls along with the BJP and drew a blank.

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Printable version | May 29, 2020 8:07:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/bypoll-scarred-aiadmk-rethinks-ties-with-bjp/article22321366.ece

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