Will AIADMK merge with BJP?
The two factions of AIADMK are busy ironing out their differences, gearing up for a possible merger. Despite their many differences, the two factions have demonstrated similar soft approaches in dealing with the BJP government at the centre. This is in stark contrast to the harsh approach adopted by Jayalalithaa with the centre. Could there be a AIADMK-BJP alliance in the near future?
The All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) split into AIADMK (Amma) and the AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) ahead of elections for the RK Nagar seat, previously occupied by Jayalalithaa. The Election Commission cancelled the polls following the discovery of the cash-for-vote scam.
BJP sees the power vacuum in TN as a golden opportunity to build bridges with AIADMK, in order to finally build its own turf in the state. BJP is said to be pulling the strings in the feud between the two factions and is rumoured to be behind the cancellation of the RK Nagar by-polls through orchestrating the raid against health minister C Vijayabaskar.
While the AIADMK government under Jayalalithaa was highly critical of the Modi government, the weakened AIADMK power centre seems to have been cornered by the Centre, forcing it to pass policies including the Food Security Act and the UDAY scheme. AIADMK CM Edappadi K Palaniswami on Tuesday issued an order, asking his colleagues to stop issuing negative comments against the BJP government at centre.
BJP denies its involvement in the cancellation of RK Nagar by-polls. Union minister and senior BJP leader, Pon Radhakrishnan notes that "The time is ripe for the BJP to expand on its own." State BJP General Secretary in charge Muralidhar Rao notes that they're in touch with a number of MLAs and senior leaders who wish to join the BJP.
Compared to AIADMK, the opposition party Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has been highly critical of the Centre. It has been collaborating with parties including Congress and the Left parties in an attempt to put up an alliance to fight the Lok Sabha polls in 2019.
AIADMK's softening approach toward the Centre and BJP's plans to make inroads into the state might possibly culminate in an AIADMK-BJP alliance which would jointly fight the 2019 elections, and perhaps even upcoming local body polls. Election 2019 in that case would witness a battle between DMK's grand alliance and the BJP-AIADMK alliance, and could result in a transformed political terrain in TN.