Chennai: AIADMK coordinator and Tamil Nadu’s deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam (OPS) on Wednesday hinted at a pre-poll alliance with the BJP.
During a heated exchange between the AIADMK and the Congress inside the state Assembly, Paneerselvam said: “Since the Congress-DMK alliance is done and spoken about, there is no question of AIADMK planning or exploring the possibility of going for the polls alone.”
The argument began when Congress legislature Party chief KR Ramasamy asked the AIADMK government if it is ready to face the elections without forging an alliance. Paneerselvam responded to the query with a sardonic one-liner, saying: “AIADMK will contest alone if everyone is ready to contest alone.” He added that the Tamil Nadu Congress has no locus standi to raise this question as the party is riding behind the DMK for years now.
Multiple sources from the AIADMK and the BJP have confirmed to News18 that talks are on between the two parties and there is no question of the party contesting alone like it did in 2014. With his response in the state Assembly, OPS has only hinted at the possibility of forging an alliance with the saffron party.
Two ministers close to chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS), municipal administration minister SP Velumani and electricity minister P Thangamani, are in talks with BJP leader Piyush Goyal. The two ministers are also part of the five-member committee formed to take the alliance discussion forward.
“It is a justification for keeping the BJP coalition option open. The BJP is also pressurising EPS. PM Modi’s rally in Tirupur, the western region from where chief minister hails and where the AIADMK has a strong base, the DMK rival has also sent out a message. During the 1998 elections post the Coimbatore blast, the BJP had made major inroads in this region in particular but could not sustain it later," said N Sathiya Moorthy, political analyst.
Over the last few weeks, there have been diverse views from senior AIADMK leaders on ties with the saffron party. Lok Sabha deputy speaker Thambidurai and senior AIADMK C Ponnaiyan have in the past expressed their reservations on a tie-up with the BJP for the general elections. Ponnaiyan even invoked the late party matriarch, J Jayalalithaa, and insisted that the public at large is against such an alliance.
But the state BJP has maintained that individual statements against the BJP will not be considered as official stance of the AIADMK.