AIADMK leans on PM Modi’s visit to shore up poll prospects

New Delhi | Updated on February 13, 2021 Published on February 13, 2021

Narendra Modi   -  The Hindu

But the BJP has thus far failed to convince its alliance partner to patch up with Sasikala in the run-up to the Assembly polls

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Chennai on Sunday underlines the southward incline of the BJP which has thus far failed to convince Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palniswami to reconcile with VK Sasikala to beef up the ruling coalition’s prospects in the upcoming Assembly elections.

The PM would be addressing a public function in the Tamil Nadu capital on Sunday to inaugurate the Chennai Metro Rail Phase-I extension and a host of other projects, an event hailed by the AIADMK as symbolic of the “harmony” between the Centre and the State for the welfare of people. But the two alliance partners are not on the same page so far as getting back Sasikala is concerned.

Speaking to BusinessLine, AIADMK leader in the Rajya Sabha A. Navaneethakrishnan said, “I cannot comment on Chinnamma (Sasikala). What I can say is that the PM has shown a great gesture to Tamil Nadu in the Budget in terms of allocations as also projects like fishing ports. I will be present tomorrow in the Chennai function as a mark of my respect to the leadership of the PM.”

AIADMK will contest the elections together with the BJP, which does not have much of a presence in Tamil Nadu. However, in the larger scheme of the party’s plans for the East as also Southern States, especially under the party’s more proactive General Secretary (Organisation) BL Santosh, the BJP would like to not just increase its vote share but have a larger presence in the popular imagination of Tamil Nadu. Towards that goal, the BJP had bet big on actor Rajinikanth’s entry into politics as also cash in on the growing appeal for CM Palaniswami’s populist schemes to somehow tackle the anti-incumbency sentiment against the AIADMK. But Sasikala’s release from jail and the enthusiastic crowds she has been getting in all her public appearances have further marred the prospect of the alliance.

AMMK impact

Her nephew TTV Dhinakaran’s party Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) had secured over 4 per cent of the vote in the 2019 general elections and their contesting elections independently would only affect the AIADMK-BJP alliance’s prospects. Consolidating the AIADMK vote will help the BJP.

“The priority should be winning elections,” BJP’s spokesperson Gopal Krishna Aggarwal, who had accompanied party President JP Nadda on his visit to Chennai on January 30, said.

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Published on February 13, 2021
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