Indian politics: after DMK-Congress pact, AIADMK-BJP might also try for alliance in Tamil Nadu!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
Even before former Jammu Kashmir CM and Congress emissary for talks with DMK in Tamil Nadu, BJP has been in touch with Modi’s “friends” in Tamil Nadu like Jayalalithaa and Rajinikanth in order to shore up the Hindutva chances for assembly poll tie-ups but without any success, so far. But BJP, like Congress party is not one that gives up hopes and continues to target its goal net.
Coalition poll politics seems to have come to stay in India, both at the national and regional levels. As state assembly poll is nearing the old “friends” appear to be rekindling their political partnerships in Tamil Nadu.
As it stands, no party, possibly except the ruling AIADMK, is in a position to win the poll without alliances. DMK, AIADMK, Congress and BJP have been looking for alliance partners to get maximum number of seats.
As the DMK and Congress decide to revive their alliance, putting the ruling AIADMK in a political fix and necessity for similar poll alliance to stay in power. Reports suggest the AIADMK and BJP are also understood to be exploring options of an electoral tie-up in the poll-bound state. History of polls in the state reveal if Congress aligns with one of the two major Dravidian parties, the other would be in an disadvantageous position, therefore forcing it also to seek alliance with the BJP in which BJP gains and wins seats.
It is likely the Congress and BJP play out their usual joint trick at national level to outsmart both the Dravidian parties in Tamil state and gain more seats, increase their vote share. While Congress has been unsuccessfully making efforts to regain its lost ground in the state in 1960s, BJP is eager to get more seats and increase its mass base by using the Dravidian parties and actors if available. BJP can easily defeat Congress party it manages to come to power in the state any time in future.
As it stands, neither the Congress nor the BJP can manage the poll in the state without trick with either DMK or AIADMK
The Party’s central leadership is understood to be talking to Jayalalithaa. A BJP leader said the party’s support would mean a gain of about a ten per cent vote (which it got thanks to both Dravidian parties) for AIADMK. According to sources, informal talks are on at remote between Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK and BJP to see if they could enter into an alliance, the possibility of which looked faint earlier. The developments on the DMK front might now seem push the “old allies” to the negotiating table.
While the BJP was initially keen on fighting around 100 of the seats in any alliance, it is prepared now to scale it down to around 60. This number also is too a high a demand given that the AIADMK was unwilling to part with more than 15-20 seats. But, faced with the prospect of an alliance of DMK, Congress and even possibly the confused Left, there is some unease in the Jayalalithaa camp.
There was no question of BJP aligning with the DMK as the party ruling at the Centre would desist from any move that would antagonize Jayalalithaa, whose AIADMK has 37 seats in Lok Sabha and 11 in Rajya Sabha. The BJP cannot afford to have more MPs joining the Opposition ranks in Rajya Sabha, where it is already in a minority. BJP aims to increase its strength in the Upper house to pass all bills easily.
The BJP has been trying to rope in an unwilling Tamil superstar Rajnikant to either join it or campaign for the party to boost its prospects in the state where it has failed to make its presence.
Dravidian parties have dominated the political scenario and the BJP does not have a leader of stature in the state while those who are in forefront as seen as highly communal. BJP seeks a person like Rajnikant, who was awarded the second highest honor Padma Vibhushan this year, has stayed away from politics apparently to avoid upsetting the AIADMK or the DMK.
PM Narendra Modi, who has managed personal “equations” with both Jayalalithaa and Rajnikant, had called on the superstar at his residence in Chennai ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. Rajinikanth had wished Modi well and described him as a “good friend” and he never went further that equation. Earlier he had supported the Tamil Manila Congress, a breakaway from Congress party floated, among others, by former Indian finance minister P. Chidambaram, helping it win many seats in the state and Pondicherry. He never campaigned for that party, however.
Meanwhile, both BJP and DMK are wooing the actor Vijaykanth’s DMDK. The BJP, which had got a record 13 per cent vote share in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, is pinning its hopes on around 25-30 of the 70 seats falling in five-six districts– Kanyakumari, Coimbatore, Tiruchirapally, Nagercoil, Madurai and Nilgiris. Though only Pon Radhakrishnan managed to win from the party, the BJP stood second in five of the 39 seats. As part of its strategy to tap the North Indians, Nadars and upper caste votes in the state, the BJP retained Tamilsai Soundarajan as the state unit chief.
However, that is not enough. Tamils have not accepted Hindutva forces as their rulers. Only poll alliances help the BJP to make its presence in the state assembly. If DMK and AIADMK leave both Congress and BJP, both these national parties, unable to fight the poll jointly as many party people prefer that, would vanish from the state in due course, if not this year.