AIADMK's U-turn galore on ties with BJP

Ruling AIADMK's double speak on its ties with the BJP continues unabated.

The party has been sending mixed signals about its much-talked about relationship with the BJP at a time Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu are up in arms against the national party on the Cauvery issue.

The latest volte-face came on Monday when AIADMK top guns  —  Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai and Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar  —  took pains to explain that the party has not decided on its alliance with the BJP.

The spur was an article in the party's mouthpiece Namadhu Puratchi Thalaivi Amma on Sunday that said signs are increasingly becoming visible for the AIADMK and the BJP to work like a double-barrelled gun in Indian politics and that the pathway was clear.

The latest article came only a week after the same mouthpiece accused the Centre of neglecting Tamil Nadu on every vital issue and asked it to change its attitude.

As speculation on the formal coming together of the two parties was rife, Thambidurai and Jayakumar sought to downplay the article saying no decision has been taken on the alliance and that they just have a "working relationship" with the BJP.

The AIADMK has been functioning as an unofficial ally of the BJP, especially inside Parliament, since its leader J Jayalalithaa's death in December 2016.

While Jayakumar said it was only an opinion piece and not the official stand of the party, Thambidurai said the AIADMK is functioning as a separate party in Parliament and there is no alliance so far.

Arch-rival DMK used the opportunity to take a dig saying the two parties were indeed a "double-barrelled gun" on issues such as Cauvery and NEET controversy.

Political analysts said the "double speak" betrayed the AIADMK's catch-22 situation vis-a-vis BJP since the Tamil Nadu's ruling party is caught between the national party and the people of the state.

Political commentator Bernard D' Sami told DH that since the current AIADMK leadership does not have the mandate to run the government, they would depend on the BJP's support for everything.

"To complete their tenure, they will continue to talk about an alliance with the BJP and make noise on issues concerning the state. But, I don't know how far people will believe them," D' Sami, Professor of History at Loyola College, said.

However, another observer Sumanth C Raman said the AIADMK is testing the waters to gauge the mood of the people.

"I don't think a formal alliance between the two parties is a great idea at this stage," he said.

 

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