BJP-AIADMK al­liance buzz grows as PM vis­its TN to­day

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - NATION - M Manikan­dan and MC Ra­jan let­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

WHILE OF­FI­CIALLY AIADMK HAS RE­MAINED SILENT ON THE IS­SUE, PARTY LEAD­ERS IN PRI­VATE SAY AL­LIANCE TALKS ARE ON BE­TWEEN THE TWO PAR­TIES

CHENNAI: Will they? Won’t they?

That’s been the ques­tion up­per­most on the minds of most po­lit­i­cal an­a­lysts in Tamil Nadu on a pos­si­ble al­liance be­tween the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the state’s rul­ing All In­dia Anna Dravida Mun­netra Kazhagam (AIADMK).

Some say that Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi, who is speak­ing at a BJP election rally in Tamil Nadu’s hosiery hub Tirupur on Sun­day, is likely to in­di­cate the pos­si­ble di­rec­tion.

Chief min­is­ter Eda­pa­pdi K Palan­si­wami is shar­ing the stage with PM Modi be­cause the agenda also in­volves the launch of sev­eral projects. This is the sec­ond time the PM is vis­it­ing the state within a fort­night.on Jan­uary 27, he ad­dressed a rally in Madu­rai dur­ing he which he hit out at the al­liance be­tween the Congress and the Dravida Mun­netra Kazhagam (DMK) and wel­comed all for­mer al­lies to part­ner with the BJP. Both the AIADMK and the DMK have pre­vi­ously been part of the Bjp-led Na­tional Demo­cratic Al­liance, al­though not in its cur­rent avatar.

Spec­u­la­tion is rife in Chennai that an an­nounce­ment of a BJPAIADMK al­liance is im­mi­nent.

While of­fi­cially, the AIADMK’S re­sponse has ranged from out­right de­nial to si­lence on the is­sue, in pri­vate, some lead­ers have ad­mit­ted that talks are in­deed on be­tween the two par­ties. The AIADMK is also be­lieved to be hold­ing talks with the other back­ward class (OBC) Van­ni­yar-dom­i­nated Pat­tali Makkal Katchi, the De­siya Mur­pokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK of actor Vi­jayakanth as well as Puthiya Thamizhagam of Dr K Kr­ish­nasamy.

Tirupur, where the PM is ad­dress­ing the rally, is be­lieved to be on the wish list of the BJP.

Other seats that the party is eye­ing are Kanyaku­mari, Coim­bat­ore and Madu­rai, peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter said.

Tamil Nadu sends 39 mem­bers to the Lok Sabha. In the cur­rent Lok Sabha, the AIADMK has 37 mem­bers. “The PM’S rally will be a plat­form for us to reach out to vot­ers of eight Lok Sabha con­stituen­cies — Coim­bat­ore, Tirupur, Erode, Karur, Nil­giris, Salem, Dharma­puri and Na­makkal in west­ern Tamil Nadu. We are ex­pect­ing at least 25,000 work­ers from each of these con­stituen­cies to par­tic­i­pate in the pub­lic meet­ing. Since the BJP is strong in the west­ern belt (of the state), the PM’S rally will fur­ther en­cour­age party work­ers to carry out election work,” said SR Shekar, trea­surer and spokesper­son of the BJP’S Tami Nadu unit. He added that Modi may “clear the air on (a pos­si­ble) al­liance” at the meet­ing.

AIADMK vet­eran and Lok Sabha deputy speaker M Tham­bidu­rai on Satur­day con­tin­ued his tirade against the BJP. “When BJP state chief Tamil­i­sai Sounder­rara­jan has been say­ing that they will de­stroy the Dra­vid­ian par­ties, we can­not let them grow in Tamil Nadu...,” Tham­bidu­rai told re­porters in Karur.

S Vaigaichel­van, a for­mer min­is­ter and AIADMK spokesper­son, de­clined com­ment on an al­liance. “It is purely a BJP meet­ing. Our CM is just par­tic­i­pat­ing in a gov­ern­ment event. We can­not say any­thing about the al­liance now. The BJP rally has noth­ing to do with the AIADMK,” he added. Tamil Nadu Congress Com­mit­tee’s new chief K S Ala­giri said Congress pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi and gen­eral sec­re­tary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra would be vis­it­ing Tamil Nadu later this month.

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