Until a month ago, AIADMK leaders claimed that the BJP would be a liability in an electoral alliance, and that a tie-up with the saffron party would mean more losses than gains. Leaders like Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai said then that the BJP cannot help the national party to try and get a foothold in Tamil Nadu, in a sharp retort to RSS ideologue Gurumurthy.
Another AIADMK leader said the party would lose minority votes which would consolidate in favour of the DMK if there was an alliance between them. A minister said the AIADMK had enough strength to contest on its own strength, and did not need an alliance with the BJP.
Even when the alliance was firmed up, a senior minister said the BJP would not lead the alliance in Tamil Nadu. The AIADMK would head the alliance in the state, he asserted, making it clear who was the boss.
However, when the Chief Minister and AIADMK joint coordinator, Edappadi Palaniswamy began his campaign, it was the other way around. He sought votes to strengthen the nation, strengthen national security, to strengthen the hands of Prime Minister Modi. The nation needed a strong PM, and therefore the people should vote for Modi and the BJP, he said. The AIADMK coordinator and Deputy Chief Minister, O Panneerselvam went one step further yesterday by claiming that the country would be safe from external threats only under Modi.
Although both leaders did lay stress on the welfare schemes initiated under Amma, and expanded by them, it was clear that they were seeking votes in the name of Modi, by and large. This is in sharp contrast to Jayalalithaa’s own stand of keeping the BJP at bay, and declaring that the lady was better than Modi. A senior minister has now said that had Amma been alive, she would have brought about the alliance with BJP.