O Panneerselvam and his associates in AIADMK won’t be the only political outfit happy with the Supreme Court’s conviction of VK Sasikala. The BJP too, hoping OPS to eventually holds reigns of the party, will be delighted with the political opportunity that Tuesday’s verdict has given them.
There are at least four major reasons that BJP, the party that has been accused for acting behind the scenes throughout this power struggle, will be in a celebratory mood right now.
1. Presidential Elections
The last time BJP nominated a candidate for the Presidential elections, its nominee - PA Sangma - was defeated by a margin close to 40 per cent by the Congress nominee - the current President Pranab Mukherjee.
But this time BJP has a huge advantage with 1126 MLAs plus 282 MPs in the fray against 900 MLAs and 44 MPs of Congress. The party is counting on bettering its tally of MLAs in the poll bound states, most importantly in UP, to get an edge over candidates put up by rival parties.
And the party’s advantage over opposition was clear with hints of warming ties between Modi and Nitish Kumar. But with Kumar calling for “maximum opposition unity”, BJP won’t be sure of counting in RJD or JD(U) support.
But BJP will now bank on OPS to lead the party - which has 37 Lok Sabha MPs, 13 Rajya Sabha MPs and 135 MLAs - and support them in the upcoming presidential elections.
2. Vice Presidential Elections
With a straight contest between the members of Upper and Lower house of the Parliament, BJP would be looking at a comfortable victory in the vice-Presidential elections. Having 55 Rajya Sabha MPs plus 282 Lok Sabha MPs gives the party an edge.
Chances of a candidate fielded by an opposition party will be decimated if AIADMK lends its considerable weight of their 50 MPs to the BJP.
3. Lok Sabha 2019
The party is placed at such a low in Tamil Nadu that it can only look forward to an upward movement in future. It bagged only 5.56 per cent votes in 2014 Lok Sabha elections but the vote percentage dropped even further - to 2.8 per cent in 2016 assembly polls.
The public perception of BJP has also taken a hit after a series of events, the latest of which was the controversy over Jallikattu.
But the situation from here could only improve for the party. The party has given enough hints about its interests in Tamil Nadu. It has marked 115 general assembly seats through the country, several of which are in Tamil Nadu, in a new program called ‘New Catchment Areas’, aimed at spreading its reach.
The Assam model will be instructive for the party. It could be looking at making an entry in the state as it did, through alliances and raking up identity based politics, make their debut in the state. In such a case the AIADMK, if OPS is to take its charge, could help BJP take roots in the coastal state.
Jayalalithaa wasn’t quite happy with Modi’s new tax regime but still helped BJP by asking her Rajya Sabha MPs to walk out during discussion and voting on the bill. BJP can expect similar, if not greater, cooperation in case of GST council in future as well.