The announcement by the AIADMK leadership on Saturday regarding the continuance of the party’s alliance with the BJP surprised several sections of the ruling party.
Since the news of Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to Chennai came out a week ago, discussions ensued in various political circles on its significance. Many senior leaders in the AIADMK had no idea that the announcement was to be made by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam during the day’s function.
Another reason was that in the last three to four months, the ruling party and the BJP were openly taking different positions on a variety of issues.
But Mr. Shah’s reception on his arrival in Chennai, regarded widely as uncommon, gave enough indication that the AIADMK leadership viewed his visit as an event of great significance. The Chief Minister, the Deputy Minister and many Cabinet Minister were at the airport to receive him. K.P. Munusamy, the AIADMK’s deputy coordinator, said this was not surprising as the Union Minister was also “one of the most important leaders” in the BJP.
Acknowledging that the announcement was unexpected, a Minister, however, felt that “it is good that they [Mr. Panneerselvam and Mr. Palaniswami] have come out openly about the alliance. This will facilitate better coordination at the field level, a factor that was lacking during the Lok Sabha elections in 2019”.
A veteran of the party from the western belt said the announcement would be beneficial to the party as the BJP would otherwise seek to rope in the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) and the Tamil Maanila Congress (Moopanar) to its fold. “In such an eventuality, we would be on a weaker wicket.”
As for the workers’ acceptance of the decision, the party’s minorities wing secretary and former Ramanathapuram MP, A. Anwhar Raajhaa, who had criticised the BJP on a host of issues, said one could always debate the pros and cons of a particular proposal. “But once the leadership decides on an alliance, it is the duty of every party member to ensure the success of the decision.”
S. Semmalai, Mettur legislator and an organisation secretary, expressed hope that the party members would fall in line with the leadership’s move.
However, some senior leaders said the leadership could have waited for a few more months to make the announcement.
Also, the importance of various party forums, including the executive committee and the general council, should not have been overlooked.