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Annamalai just an excuse in AIADMK-BJP split; EPS's focus is on minorities
26 Sep 2023 7:31 AM GMT (Updated:2023-09-26 08:02:04.0)
AIADMK candidates, including former ministers, have complained to EPS in the past about the loss of minority votes, almost en masse, to the DMK-led front
It has taken six years for the Edappadi K Palaniswami-led AIADMK to take a simple political decision that had seemed obvious to political observers for long — to jettison the BJP as an electoral partner.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, and the polls to the Tamil Nadu Assembly, and rural and urban local bodies, Palaniswami, or EPS, as he is popularly known as, ignored the writing on the wall and foolishly stuck to his alliance with the BJP. In consecutive elections, DMK leader MK Stalin, supported by powerful anti-BJP allies like the Congress and the Left Front, trounced the AIADMK with a margin of at least 7 per cent.
The September 25 resolution of the AIADMK district secretaries, under EPS’s presidentship, to snap ties with the BJP is a belated move. Yet it marks the beginning of a new strategy to woo minorities. Several AIADMK candidates, including former ministers, have complained to EPS in the past about the loss of minority votes, almost en masse, to the DMK-led front.
Culprit behind poll rout
In every election in the recent past, the DMK-led combine has started with an average lead of 12 per cent over the AIADMK. The gap, in most cases, seemed to be too big for the AIADMK to cover.
The DMK, which swept the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, winning 38 of the 39 seats up for grabs, was thus sitting pretty in the crucial state. The AIADMK has tried to blame the BJP for this crisis and the split, but in reality, the party has merely used state BJP chief K Annamalai’s controversial statements as an excuse to pull out of the alliance.
The AIADMK demanded an apology from Annamalai for his remarks against the founder of the undivided DMK, CN Annadurai, and J Jayalalitha. It even sought the removal of Annamalai as a precondition for the alliance between the two parties to continue. But the BJP made it clear that Annamalai would continue. The BJP top brass has maintained that it would not bow down to such demands and that the party would stand by its leaders.
Thus, the BJP refused to blink first.
Eyes on new ties
The AIADMK believes that its new political moves would gain momentum. It is hopeful that parties like the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and the Left will come out of the alliance with the DMK, as they were unhappy with the paltry allocation of seats in 2019 and 2021.
The AIADMK is not too concerned about the Lok Sabha polls, as EPS is more worried about the chief minister's chair. He will put all his resources to his own campaign to become the chief minister again in 2026. The AIADMK feels that the BJP has its own plans for the 2026 Assembly polls, and it will come in conflict with EPS. It was inevitable that the ambitions of the two would clash sooner or later.
(The writer is a senior journalist)
(The Federal seeks to present views and opinions from all sides of the spectrum. The information, ideas or opinions in the articles are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Federal)