Ever since Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, the BJP has been hell bent upon gaining foot hold in Tamil Nadu. This has become a prestige issue to BJP because Tamil Nadu is one of the few states which has rejected Hindutva ideology and resists it left, right and center.
After the demise of two Dravidian stalwarts Kalaignar Karunanidhi and J Jayalalithaa the BJP saw an opportunity to grow in the state and latched on to it. It’s no secret that the ruling AIADMK is controlled by the BJP and a section of AIADMK leaders have secret deals and understandings with the BJP.
BJP, a party that claims to fight corruption conveniently turns a blind eye or rather stay a mute spectator when it comes to taking action. For instance, Gutkha scam in which the Health Minister of Tamil Nadu is directly involved has not seen the light of the day. Though the CBI has completed investigation two years back and after collecting mountain of evidence, the Central Bureau of Investigation is yet to act.
Similarly, all bad deeds of top AIADMK leaders are maintained in a book in Delhi and will be used against them when they become politically inconvenient. In simple terms, AIADMK is a ‘Chitti Robot’ in the hands of the BJP.
Now, it appears that the BJP has decided to dismantle the ‘Chitti Robot’. The BJP has formulated a new strategy for the upcoming 2021 polls.
The BJP’s initial game plan was to ensure AIADMK, the ruling party in Tamil Nadu remains strong and intact so that the march of DMK to power could be halted or to give a tough fight. This includes the merger of TTV Dinakaran’s AMMK. A united ADMK and BJP with its alliance partners PMK, DMDK and Dr Krishnasamy would be a formidable combine to take on the DMK was the assessment of BJP.
There was also another school of thought in the BJP to go it alone. The BJP considers that if BJP was part of the ADMK alliance, the entire minority votes would go to the DMK combine. During the 2014 lok sabha polls, the ADMK went alone under Jayalalitha and secured 44.3 % votes. But, in 2019 the ADMK went to polls with BJP and DMK swung the entire election in its favour. ADMK’s vote share plunged to 18.8%. AMMK secured 5.25%. Minorities played a key role in DMK’s grand performance. BJP doesn’t want this to repeat in 2021.
However, there is a change of perception now, says a source privy to the developments in Delhi. In all likelihood, BJP will engineer a split in ADMK ahead of elections, just as it did with O Panneerselvam in February 2017. The BJP made no bones about its role behind the ‘Dharma Yudham’. Tuqlaq editor and RSS idealogue S.Gurumurthy some time back, spoke in a public meeting that it was he who instructed OPS to sit on a dharma yudham.
The merger of two factions of ADMK was done by BJP with much fanfare. The then Governor Vidhyasagar Rao personally oversaw the merger. Now, it appears the BJP has decided to wash off its hand on ADMK.
The new strategy of BJP is to engineer a split in the ADMK before elections and ensure the ‘Two leaves’ symbol is frozen just as it happened during OPS’s earlier dharma yudham. Then the contest would be between BJP and DMK with the factions of ADMK relegated to the fences. Of course this will deliver the field on a platter to the DMK. But the target of the BJP is not 2021 but the elections in 2024 and 2026.
The DMK will capture power in 2021. With the ADMK split, BJP will pitch itself as the principal opposition party in the state and create nuisance to the ruling government on a day today basis. For the BJP, to oppose DMK will be an advantage to grow rapidly in the state. The BJP high command hopes that slowly but surely, it will grow as a formidable party in the state and turn it into a major player before 2024 parliament elections. By 2024 BJP may not be a fringe player but a major force to reckon with, and it may win a few seats on its own legs without depending on alliance partners.
As it has been argued several times, the Dravidian ideology is an anathema to the RSS. They want to ensure that the Dravidian ideology is dead and buried in Tamil Nadu which it considers as a huge hurdle to implement its Hindutva ideology. Dilution or decimation of either of the Dravidian parties is not a bonus but the focus of BJP.
Will BJP’s plan work? Can they engineer another split in the AIADMK? Well, sources say it’s very easy because no AIADMK leader wants central agencies after them probing their accounts and investments. Almost every AIADMK leader has numerous skeletons in their cupboards.
This formula of BJP pitching itself as a principal opposition by weakening other political parties has worked very well in West Bengal, where the BJP aims to capture power in 2021.
The left which ruled Bengal for more than two decades is now left to pick up the crumps. While the left is fighting the BJP all over the country, in Bengal it’s principal enemy is the ruling TMC. TMC cadres and left cadres are in bitter feuds across the state. The congress is a marginal player and has no major say in the state’s affairs. BJP is using this opportunity as an advantage and has taken up cudgels against the ruling TMC and the 2021 polls for Bengal will be between BJP and TMC. This complex scenario is only aiding the BJP. What the BJP did for 2021 in Bengal they want to replicate for Tamil Nadu in 2024 and 2026.
TTV Dinakaran who visited Delhi in September 2020 on a chartered flight and met a few BJP / RSS leaders. The meeting was set up on an initiative by BJP and not the other way round. A follow up meeting was supposed to be held the following week, but this never happened. There is an eerie calm prevailing in TTV Dinakaran’s camp. The BJP appears to have put this plan into cold storage or shelved the plan altogether.
Further, many view the attachment of properties in the names of Sasikala, Ilavarasi and Sudhakaran in the 1996 assets case, as a measure to keep Sasikala in check. No. This is a measure aimed to discredit Jayalalitha and ADMK. Soon the BJP will unleash its hounds – ED, CBI, IT, DRI, etc. – on almost all ADMK leaders. ADMK leaders will be given two options. Join us or perish.
It is also to relevant to mention here that following the announcement by ADMK that Edappadi Palanisamy will be their CM candidate for 2021, TN BJP President Murugan refused to endorse that EPS will be their alliance’s CM candidate too. Most of the BJP leaders toe the same line and say, CM candidate issue will be finalized when elections are near as if elections are three years around.
Meanwhile, the BJP has intensified its process of enrolling prominent faces in the party. The process of approaching celebrities has been outsourced to business honchos who will speak the ‘language’ that will be understood. Businessmen who sympathise with the BJP and RSS ideology have been roped in to approach celebrities in Tamil Nadu even without the knowledge of state BJP leaders. Former Congress national spokesperson Kushbu joining the BJP too was one such operation.
A multi-pronged strategy has been formulated for the state of Tamil Nadu and BJP is gearing up to implement its plan ahead of 2021 polls. It’s time for political parties in Tamil Nadu to seriously think about a counter strategy. If the new strategy of the BJP is adopted in Tamil Nadu, AIADMK will be the first casualty. However, it remains to be seen if the BJP will succeed in Tamil Nadu.