Voices against tie-up with BJP get shriller in AIADMK

Last Updated 31 January 2019, 20:08 IST

The opposition in AIADMK over its possible alliance with the BJP for the Lok Sabha polls due in May just got shriller on Thursday with another senior leader coming out in open against any such move.

C Ponnaiyan, who had served in the cabinets of late M G Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa, said the cadre and rank and file of the party do not want an alliance with the BJP “which has betrayed the interests of Tamil Nadu” in the past five years.

Ponnaiyan is the second leader in the AIADMK after Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai to come out in the open against any tie-up with the BJP. In fact, Thambidurai went to the extent of saying that the AIADMK will not carry the “BJP on its shoulders” and help it develop a base in Tamil Nadu.

Though many leaders have been opposing such an alliance in the party forum, it is only in the past few days they are being very vocal about their views. Ponnaiyan told DH that he had no “personal grievance” with the BJP but was only reflecting the views of the party cadre.

“Why should I have any personal grievance against the BJP? People at large and AIADMK cadre do not want an alliance with the BJP. The BJP has betrayed the interests of the state every now and then. How will the people accept an alliance if it happens?” Ponnaiyan asked.

The comments by Thambidurai and Ponnaiyan highlight the opposition in the AIADMK for an alliance with the BJP at a time when the first round of informal talks have already completed, sources said. AIADMK leaders say an alliance with the BJP will do more harm for the party than it does to the national outfit, which has hardly any base in Tamil Nadu.

Asked to comment on whether he would accept the decision of the party if it aligns with the BJP, Ponnaiyan said: “No decision has so far been taken on the alliance question,” he said.

Political analysts say the party is caught between the leadership which is held captive by the BJP and the second-rung leaders who have their ears to the ground.

“It is only those who are enjoying fruits of power want an alliance with the BJP. The other leaders know the ground realities and that is the reason they are being vocal. But the fact of the matter is, the CM and his colleagues would face cases if the party does not align with the BJP,” Prof Ramu Manivannan, head of Department of Politics and Public Administration of the University of Madras, told DH.

The BJP, whose numerous attempts to make inroads in Tamil Nadu failed, is pushing AIADMK for an alliance with senior party leaders openly saying that both parties are ideologically closer and that there was a need for an electoral understanding to defeat the Opposition.

BJP leaders feel, sources said, an alliance with AIADMK would ensure that it gets the chunk of the regional party’s vote share if not the entire percentage. The AIADMK under Jayalalithaa had polled more than 40% of votes in 2016 Assembly elections. But the share might witness a deep plunge with AIADMK split into two after Jayalalithaa's death.

(Published 31 January 2019, 19:22 IST)

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