The BJP’s central leadership, which is desperately trying to win a few seats from Tamil Nadu, is pitching for a truce within the Opposition AIADMK.
Sources in the BJP told IANS that the saffron party wants former Chief Ministers, Edappadi K. Palaniswami (EPS), O. Panneerselvam (OPS) and former AIADMK interim General Secretary V.K. Sasikala to come together and form a united AIADMK.
While leaders in the EPS camp are strongly opposed to any truce, if the BJP national leadership strongly pushes this option, there won’t be much opposition from EPS for it.
The BJP’s move comes after the powerful Thevar community of south Tamil Nadu, which has a deep influence in the southern districts of the state, has pushed for both OPS and Sasikala to come together and that the duo and their supporters would be inducted into the AIADMK.
Both Sasikala and OPS belong to the Thevar community and have considerable influence in the region of south Tamil Nadu. Traditionally the AIADMK has a strong presence in south Tamil Nadu but during the last Assembly polls in 2021, the party did not perform well.
The BJP drew a blank in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and even in Kanyakumari and Coimbatore seats, the party could not win a single seat hence the BJP is desperately trying to regain the lost power and win a few seats from the state.
AIADMK as such has good ground support and the BJP can piggy-ride on the back of a united AIADMK and hence has proposed this move.
Sources in the AIADMK told IANS that while EPS and his close associates like D. Jayakumar and K.P. Munuswamy are strongly opposed to any truce with the OPS faction as well as with Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran, the BJP is keen that the votes are not split and the AIADMK fights the next polls together.
Selvaraghavan, a political analyst from Tiruchy, told IANS, “The move of the BJP is reasonable as if the party wants to have a good show in the next Lok sabha polls from the state of Tamil Nadu, it has to have a united front. The fight within the AIADMK is of individual issues and that does not stand much ground in terms of long-term alliances and combinations and BJP will definitely work its way out for a united AIADMK before the Lok Sabha polls.”
The Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) led by Sasikala’s nephew Dhinakaran and OPS unites with the AIADMK led by EPS, they can sweep south Tamil Nadu which is exactly what the BJP is looking forward to.
At present, the NDA has only one Lok Sabha MP which is O. Ravindranath, the son of OPS who won from the Theni Lok Sabha seat. The BJP wants more seats from Tamil Nadu for itself and its ally, AIADMK, hence the move for a truce within its biggest ally in south India.