BJP adopts an 'Innova'tive strategy to try its luck in TN
The BJP's desperation to win the upcoming assembly polls in Tamil Nadu has intensified with its state president L Murugan announcing on August 16 that the party would gift Toyota Innova cars to district secretaries who ensure the victory of BJP candidates.
The BJP’s desperation to win the upcoming assembly polls in Tamil Nadu has intensified with its state president L Murugan announcing on August 16 that the party would gift Toyota Innova cars to district secretaries who ensure the victory of BJP candidates. The announcement is one of the strategies that the party has begun to adopt.
Other strategies include admitting history sheeters into the party and announcing, through wall paintings, their intent to contest in Madurai (East) district without consulting leaders of the AIADMK, which is an ally of the BJP in the state. In fact, Murugan had announced that the BJP-AIADMK alliance would continue until the assembly elections.
However, some recent announcements of Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has not gone well with leaders of the saffron party. One — the state has banned Ganesh Chathurthi processions. Two — the government’s assertion of continuing two-language formula against the Centre’s three-language policy. Three — Palaniswami was the first CM to ask for funds for COVID-19 relief measures from the PM Cares Fund.
“We differ on a lot of issues such as NEET, Neduvasal Hydrocarbon project, Neutrino and the opening of TASMAC shops amid lockdown. That happens within any alliance. Take Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. While the DMK demands the release of the seven convicts, the Congress opposes it,” said Narayanan Thirupathy, one of the BJP spokespersons.
“So the differences on issues like language should be considered that way. However, since Ganesh Chathurthi is a cultural festival, we have demanded some relaxation,” he said. There is still time for the elections. Talking about the alliance now is inappropriate. However, we toe in the line of our president, he added.
“With regard to wall paintings in Madurai, it could have been the result of party cadres’ enthusiasm. But the final decision will be taken by the party president and cadres must accept it,” said Narayanan. When asked about the gifting of Innova car, Narayanan said the party chief could have announced it to motivate workers.
But this is not the first time Innova cars are a part of the state’s politics. In 2012, the then AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa had gifted an Innova car to the then party leader Nanjil Sampath for election purposes. It had raised the eyebrows of the party leaders as it was a rare gesture shown by Jayalalithaa to a leader who had left the MDMK to join the AIADMK.
After her demise, due to the alleged pressure from the Sasikala camp, Sampath returned the car to the party.
“The car was bought on December 16, 2012, and was registered in the AIADMK treasurer’s name. It was given to me by Amma (Jayalalithaa) for propaganda activities. I have never used that car for personal reasons. When not in use, it had been parked in my friend Jaffer Ali’s house. For the last eight months, there has been no campaigning. Instead of having the car and being taunted as ‘Innova’ Sampath, I have decided to return it,” said Sampath on a Facebook post in 2017.
In January 2016, he had criticised the AIADMK’s handling of the 2015 Chennai Floods, following which he was stripped from the post of deputy propaganda secretary.
Following BJPs announcement, Nanjil Sampath, while speaking to Puthiya Thalaimurai, a regional channel, said the party was copying the tactics of AIADMK.
“This shows that the party has got ready to spend crores of money for the upcoming elections. The state has not witnessed fascism. But the party is trying to get a foothold here. I am warning them. Not Innova car, even if they give aeroplane (to cadres), the party cannot taste success in the state,” he said.
Regarding the Madurai wall paintings, AIADMK spokesperson Babu Murugavel told The Federal that BJP leaders should not talk anything against the ethics of alliance. “The alliance is continuing. Whether it will continue until the 2021 elections will be decided when the polls are around the corner,” he said.