Many AIADMK legislators opposed to tie-up with BJP

They feel the national party will hurt their chances

Published - December 31, 2018 01:06 am IST - CHENNAI

A cross-section of AIADMK Lok Sabha MPs is strongly opposed to any electoral understanding with the BJP for the 2019 Parliamentary election. The overwhelming feeling in the AIADMK Parliamentary Party, given the perception that there is an anti-BJP feeling in Tamil Nadu, is that the national party would be a political liability and would cripple the AIADMK’s electoral prospects.

Any alliance with the BJP would be a “perfect recipe for disaster”, said an MP from north Tamil Nadu. His colleague insisted that the AIADMK leadership should hold discussions with MPs before finalising any alliance, especially with the BJP.

“You tell us, why should we join hands with a party that treated us like a doormat?” an AIADMK MP asked.

“Does the BJP even have enough booth members to sit in each polling booth?” questioned another, indicating that the AIADMK stood to gain nothing from a tie-up with the BJP and would instead have to carry the national party on its shoulders.

Over half-a-dozen MPs, to whom this correspondent spoke, felt they would not be able to justify an alliance with the BJP to their electorate.

Some were upset over reports that “political relations” between the two parties figured in a recent meeting between Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and State Ministers P. Thangamani and S.P. Velumani.

Feelers for poll pact

The MPs said the BJP had sent feelers for exploring a tie-up. “During a recent casual conversation in the Parliament complex, a senior BJP leader told us that the BJP and the AIADMK were [political] orphans and that we do not have any choice but to join hands,” said an MP, adding, “but it was the BJP that divided us.”

While agreeing that they would be bound by the decision of the AIADMK leadership, an MP said, “But I hope we would be involved in the pre-electoral decision stage. In my constituency, I can see that there is disillusionment among a section of the electorate over demonetisation and GST.”

However, Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar said there was no misunderstanding among party MPs over the issue of the Ministers meeting Ms. Sitharaman.

When asked about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposed visit to Chennai next month for party-related activities, Mr. Jayakumar said that as a BJP leader, Mr. Modi was keen on taking care of his party’s interests.

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