AIADMK-BJP alliance to continue for elections in TN

AIADMK-BJP alliance to continue for Tamil Nadu Assembly elections

Party coordinator and deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam made the announcement at a government function attended by Union Home Minister Amit Shah

O Panneerselvam file photo.Credit: PTI Photo

Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK on Saturday announced that the party's alliance with BJP stitched last year will continue for the Assembly elections due in the first half of 2021.

The significant announcement was made by party coordinator O Panneerselvam and joint coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswami in the presence of Union Home Minister and BJP's election strategist Amit Shah at a government event here.

Though Shah did not make any explicit announcement about the alliance, he indicated his endorsement by declaring that the Narendra Modi government will “stand like a rock” behind the AIADMK government. The Home Minister also utilised the occasion to send out a political message, saying the Assembly elections will witness the end of “dynastic parties”, referring to DMK and Congress.

“I am duty-bound to announce through this meeting that the victorious AIADMK-BJP alliance will continue for the elections to be held in the future,” Panneerselvam said as Shah looked on.

Endorsing his views, Chief Minister Palaniswami said the alliance stitched during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections will continue, while expressing the confidence that the AIADMK government will score a hat trick by winning for a third straight term. The AIADMK-BJP alliance managed to win just one of the 39 Lok Sabha seats it fought in 2019.

Both Palaniswami and Panneerselvam lavished praise on Shah and Modi. The deputy chief minister called Shah as “modern Chanakya”, while Palaniswami credited the duo of enhancing India's image in the eyes of the world. The AIADMK also rolled out a red carpet welcome for Shah with Palaniswami, Panneerselvam and six of their cabinet colleagues turning up at the airport to receive him.

Though the announcement was not completely unexpected, many were surprised that the Chief Minister and his deputy chose a government function to make the declaration. That the AIADMK wanted to announce the continuation of the alliance with Shah by their side is the only explanation that can be given.

It also comes amidst the Tamil Nadu government refusing to grant permission for state BJP's Vetrivel Yatra that triggered speculation whether the alliance might break.

After the announcement, Palaniswami and Panneerselvam met Shah at a five-star hotel where he will stay for the night. Sources said broad contours of the alliance might have come up for discussion during the meeting.

In his speech, Shah praised the Palaniswami government and listed Centre's assistance to Tamil Nadu, which he said, was much more than the Manmohan Singh government gave to the state in which DMK was a part. He also hit out at the DMK and Congress saying they have no “locus standi” to talk about corruption and asked them to “look within” before blaming others.

“In the past six years after Narendra Modi assumed office as Prime Minister, we have been defeating family-based parties in several states, and now it's Tamil Nadu's turn. There is a dynastic party here as well. In the upcoming elections, when it is held, the dynastic party will bite the dust and democratic forces will emerge victorious,” he said.