January 30, 2019
Chennai : Ruling AIADMK, which has 37 MPs in the outgoing Lok Sabha, has begun the process of selection of candidates for the general elections for 40 seats. The AIADMK has included the Puducherry seat as well in its latest exercise at a time when there are alliance talks in the air.
The AIADMK has called for invitations from desirous candidates wanting to participate in the Lok Sabha elections. What has come as a surprise is that the AIADMK has gone ahead with its process even as the BJP is aiming for a tie-up with the Dravidian party. In fact, the BJP wants to form a rainbow coalition in Tamil Nadu and maximize wins for the coalition to make up for the losses it could end up with in North India.
The BJP is expected to lose many seats and it wants to make up for its losses from South India. In Karnataka, it had won 17 seats in 2014 general elections but with the Congress and Janata Dal coming together, the BJP may not be able to repeat its performance. In Kerala, Andhra and Telangana too, the BJP’s prospects do not appear very bright, as of now, unless it makes strong allies on the ground.
Which is why, the BJP is placing its bets on Tamil Nadu in the hope that the AIADMK, considerably weakened after the death of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa, and win as many seats as possible.
Sources in the AIADMK hint that many of its leaders are wary of a tie-up with the BJP as it does not enjoy a positive image in Tamil Nadu. In fact, the BJP is seen as anti-Tamil Nadu.
The public perception is such, given the attitude of the central government towards Tamil Nadu issues whether it was NEET or Cauvery or even the issue of language of Hindi.
With the AIADMK inviting applications for all the seats in the state from prospective candidates, speculation is gaining ground if the ruling party in TN would have second thoughts on a possible tie-up with the BJP.
Senior AIADMK leader and Lok Sabha deputy speaker M Thambidurai has often spoken against the BJP and sticks to the line taken by mentor Jayalalithaa who kept the BJP at a distance. She was steadfastly against a tie-up with the BJP in 2014 and she proved her decision was right when she swept to victory in 37 of 39 seats.