AIADMK leader and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa has apparently spurned the Bharatiya Janata Party’s offer of an electoral alliance for the Assembly elections in the state this year.
Sources said that BJP leaders had conveyed the offer to Jayalalithaa for an alliance with a view to avoiding the splitting of votes, but Jayalalithaa refused as she apparently sees not much benefit from the alliance.
The BJP leaders are now approaching the Anbumani Ramadoss-led Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and Vijayakanth-led DMDK for a possible pact.
BJP in-charge of Tamil Nadu, Murlidhar Rao told The Sunday Guardian that the party leaders were in touch with regional parties in the state. “We are in the process of consultation, but nothing has been finalised till now. But I think there will be some clarity on the broad contours of an alliance by this month end,” he said.
Regarding talks with Jayalalithaa, Rao said this was just speculation and that “we never had this kind of plan to align with the AIADMK and therefore, there is no question of her refusing the offer”. However, sources said talks did take place, but did not materialise as Jayalalithaa was not interested in the alliance as she wanted the contest to be triangular, which, according to her, will benefit her.
The BJP’s game plan, said a BJP source, was to make inroads in the state with support from the AIADMK. Last week, DMK and Congress decided to contest the elections together.
State BJP leaders have been talking to PMK and DMDK for a possible tie-up, but so far there has been little progress. PMK’s chief ministerial candidate Anbumani Ramadoss has made it clear there will be no alliance with the DMK or the AIADMK. However, he has also put a condition that any other party aligning with the PMK should accept him as the CM candidate.
This, according to sources, is leading to a deadlock between the BJP and PMK. As for the DMDK, it will decide its strategy only after the state-level conference on Saturday.
A BJP source said that DMDK and PMK are the only major regional parties which are being pursued for the alliance. “There is no question of aligning with Vaiko’s MDMK, which was our partner in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections because he has become part of a third front, the People’s Welfare Alliance,” he added.
The NDA in Tamil Nadu put together a front in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections comprising BJP, DMDK, PMK, MDMK and a few other smaller parties. The NDA won two seats, while the AIADMK won 37 out of 39 seats. Karunanidhi’s DMK could not win even a single seat. However, the BJP could not keep its partners intact later on.