The AIADMK leadership in Chennai has spent no time in assessing the reasons for its colossal failure in the elections to the Union Territory of Puducherry, where all the party’s five candidates lost, even as its allies, the AINRC and BJP triumphed. What is worse, is that the party has been cold-shouldered by the BJP, which nominated three of its own representatives to the Assembly through the Lieutenant Governor, without providing a consolation seat to the AIADMK.
The AIADMK high command has not registered even a token protest at such treatment from its allies, even when opposition parties criticised the BJP for trying to grab three seats through the backdoor, without even a consultation with chief minister, N Rangasamy of the AINRC.
In a way, the AIADMK deserves such shabby treatment as it ignored its late leader J Jayalalithaa’s decision not to align with the AINRC after Rangasamy’s “betrayal” and “violation of coalition dharma” in 2011. Soon after the elections, Rangasamy had ditched his poll ally, the AIADMK, and went on to form government with the support an Independent, without even providing ministerial berths to the AIADMK.
Edappadi Palaniswami and other leaders in the AIADMK who claim to be faithfully following Jayalalithaa’s policies and decisions, conveniently jettisoned the leader’s decision to fight the AINRC tooth and nail after the 2011 debacle. This Independent had defeated the AIADMK, yet AINRC embraced him, Jayalalithaa lashed out then. She hit out at the AINRC and Rangasamy in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections too, charging him with ignoring the issues of the Tamils, the statehood issue and the Union government’s decisions affecting the Union Territory.
In the 2016 Assembly polls too, Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK did not align with or support the AINRC. However, contrary to these moves of Jayalalithaa, the present AIADMK dispensation had no qualms in throwing its lot with the AINRC and the BJP (both parties were opposed by Jayalalithaa in the 2014 and 2016 elections) in 2021. Accepting a meagre allocation of five seats, the AIADMK, which had headed the government in the past, was reduced to the level of an also-ran. The AIADMK finished with just about 4 per cent vote share, a mighty fall for a party which once ruled Puducherry.
Though the AIADMK has been short-changed and despite the speculation that a section of the AINRC did not work for its candidates in the 2021 Assembly elections, the AIADMK high command has not reviewed the party position in the Union Territory or taken steps to salvage its self-respect.
Though N Rangasamy has continued to provide step-motherly treatment to the AIADMK, the latter has been putting up with the insults for no ostensible reason, except for the obvious factor that the high command is weak and unable to assert itself either in Tamil Nadu or in Puducherry. The AIADMK leadership has not been able to assert itself, and therefore is being taken for granted in the Union Territory.
Why at all the AIADMK continues in an alliance where its position had become untenable baffles its own partymen in the Union Territory.