By Sandhya Ravishankar
In what many see as a short-term blow to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Tamil Nadu, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) decided to sever ties with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) for the 2024 Parliamentary elections.
AIADMK General Secretary and former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Edappadi K Palaniswami, issued a statement to that effect, following a party meeting in Chennai.
While the BJP’s state president K Annamalai preferred not to comment on the decision, cadres of both parties appear jubilant at the decision.
This move puts an end to months of bickering between the two allies who had traded insults with each other, the latest being a war of words over Annamalai’s comments on former Chief Minister CN Annadurai.
So what will this move mean to both parties? Let us look at the AIADMK first.
1.The AIADMK has felt that the BJP is a “burden” since the 2021 election. By snapping ties, they hope to bring back the lost minority votes and also to form a larger alliance for 2026. The AIADMK, from what its leaders whisper, is not too keen on 2024.
2.The BJP is eating into the traditional AIADMK votebank. In 2021, more AIADMK votes were transferred to the BJP than the other way around.
3.The AIADMK is being viewed at and mocked as a “slave” to the BJP. This could be an effort to change that image.
4.It is now Edappadi Palaniswami’s time to consolidate his strength and take the party forward as a leader. This image is crucial for him now and it was being hampered by the BJP.
5.The AIADMK cadre were not happy with the alliance with the BJP in the first place. Even if the alliance had continued, campaigning on ground would have been hit hard.
6.The AIADMK would be keeping its options open for 2024, in the event of an I.N.D.I alliance victory.
7.This move could sour relations between the AIADMK and the BJP leadership which could lead to skeletons being dug out of the former’s closet in the form of old corruption and other cases.
What will this mean for the BJP?
1.There is no strong ally in a difficult state like Tamil Nadu for a crucial Lok Sabha election. This is likely to be a setback for the party which has only just begun establishing its presence in the south Indian state.
2.Cadre of the BJP were not happy with the alliance with AIADMK. Grassroot cadres of both parties did not get along.
3.The BJP can now claim to be a genuine alternative for the Dravidian parties. It is an opportunity for the party to build from scratch.
4.The BJP can lead a third front with smaller parties in Tamil Nadu.
5.The chances of winning a larger number of seats in the state are remote again. It is only when a party wins MLA or MP seats, that it can prove to the people the kind of work it can do and win the trust of the people. Without power, everything is only narrative.
However, there are a number of factors that are yet to come together in the run-up to 2024, which could potentially change fortunes of parties involved.
1.Which way will TTV Dhinakaran swing?
2.What will VK Sasikala do now?
3.Will the PMK, the DMDK and the Puthiya Tamizhagam continue in the NDA fold?
4.Will the VCK, CPI and CPM continue in the DMK fold?
5.What will Seeman of Naam Tamizhar Katchi do? Will he continue to walk alone or be open for an alliance?
The answers to these questions have the potential to drastically alter the political scenario in Tamil Nadu.