In Tamil Nadu, the BJP is finding the going tough because it is unable to find a reliable partner in the AIADMK. The party's infrastructure in the state too is less than adequate.
Chennai: The BJP, which blazed a stupendous trail all across the country in the general elections, came a cropper in Tamil Nadu. The defeat in the recent Lok Sabha election was comprehensive as the BJP, which was in an alliance with the ruling AIADMK in the state, lost with margins crossing a lakh or more.
At least in the neighbouring Kerala, where too it drew a blank, the BJP seems to have gained some foothold that promises it some progress in the future.
In Tamil Nadu, the BJP is finding the going tough because it is unable to find a reliable partner and also its own party infrastructure in the state is less than adequate.
Today, the party's top brass of the state went into a huddle at the party headquarters Kamalalayam and discussed the performance in the election.
The meeting was chaired by Muralidhar Rao, who is in charge of Tamil Nadu affairs. State unit president Tamilisai Soundararajan, former Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan, senior leaders H Raja, leaders Vanathi Srinivasan, G S Narendran, Kesava Vinayagam, among others, took part.
The BJP, which is seeing Tamil Nadu as the final frontier, is looking for a viable strategy to grow and make a mark in the state.
Sources in the party feel that the BJP, which had tied up with the AIADMK, paid a price for the anti-incumbency against the ruling party in the state. The BJP fought the polls while in with the AIADMK. It contested in five seats (Sivaganga, Coimbatore, Ramanathapuram, Kanyakumari and Thoothukudi) and lost in all.
The AIADMK, on the other hand, is of the opinion that it lost in the Parliamentary election because of the pronounced anti-BJP feeling in the state.
Post elections, the relationship between the two parties has become a bit icy. The AIADMK, which won the Theni seat, however, finds itself with no representation in the Union council of ministers.
The story is that the BJP offered two junior ministerial posts to the AIADMK (to deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam's son OP Raveendranath, who won from Theni, and its RS Member R Vaithilingam), but the AIADMK grassed both the chances due to internal bickering.
Apparently, the equations between the chief minister Edappadi Palanisamy and his deputy O Panneerselvam are not smooth and the former did not want the minister's post to go to the first-time poll winner Raveendranath.
At any rate, because of the turmoil in the AIADMK, the BJP now finds Tamil Nadu a Gordian knot. It is unable to address the alienation in the state. It has to fall back on Nirmala Sitharaman (RS member from Karnataka) and S Jaishankar (still not an MP) and use their tenuous Tamil links to communicate with the people of the state. As the three-language issue threatened to become a full-blown controversy, the BJP got the two ministers to tweet in Tamil to get across the message to the public.
But these can at best be ad hoc measures, the BJP needs some permanent arrangement in the state that would give the party a firm footing.
As is being widely speculated, a change of guard at the top of the state party unit is on the cards. Tamilisai Soundararajan, while being earnest and sincere, has not exactly delivered what the party wanted. So the party central team may be looking for a new leader.
That aside, the biggest strategy shift may be to jettison the alliance with the AIADMK in the short run and figure out how things pan out.
The state may be going in for the long-delayed local body elections shortly. And the BJP may not tie up with the AIADMK. Of course, the two would continue to operate with a broader understanding. The AIADMK, in any case, would need to be in the good books of the Centre, especially with the DMK now threatening to mount a spirited challenge.
The understanding with the PMK and the DMDK, which was anyway forged only for the polls, may also be off for the BJP. In all likelihood, the BJP is asking (from the AIADMK) for the RS seat that it promised to give the PMK.
The coming days will see a lot of developments, and things would become a lot clearer once a decision is taken on the new president of the party now that Amit Shah has become a central minister.
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Last Updated 6, Jun 2019, 7:38 PM