The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) on Tuesday announced a pre-poll alliance in Tamil Nadu for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The BJP expects the alliance will finally help it make inroads into the Dravidian heartland.
The move also signals the BJP’s political manoeuvring in forming a coalition government with the support of regional satraps, if its fails to win the 272 seats needed for a simple majority in the next Lok Sabha. On Monday, the BJP managed to set aside the bitterness with alliance partner Shiv Sena in Maharashtra and announced a pre-poll tie-up.
This is the first time the BJP is having an official pre-poll alliance with one of the two major Dravidian parties—the AIADMK and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)— in the last two decades.
Piyush Goyal, the BJP’s election-in-charge for Tamil Nadu, announced the “mega alliance", wherein the BJP will contest five seats, the PMK in seven and the AIADMK will contest in the remaining 27 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu.
In the 2019 general elections, the AIADMK expects to ride the sympathy wave following the demise of its leader, J. Jayalalithaa, fondly referred to as “Amma (mother)".
However, political analysts said that it will be difficult for the AIADMK to retain its 2014 tally of 37 out of the 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu. Internal power feuds, corruption allegations and the breakaway faction led by Jayalalithaa’s nephew T.T.V. Dinakaran could erode the party’s vote share, they added.
The same also holds true for DMK following the death of party patriarch K. Karunanidhi.
Tuesday’s announcement was made after Goyal’s arrival in Chennai to hold the second and final round of discussions with AIADMK leader and chief minister K. Palaniswami. Earlier in the day, the AIADMK clinched a deal with the S. Ramadoss- and his son Anbumani Ramadoss-led PMK, which has been consistently improving its performance across the northern and western parts of the state, primarily drawing its support from the Vanniyars.
The PMK’s decision to join the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance could be deemed opportunistic, since it had until recently publicly criticised both the AIADMK and the BJP. The alliance is also expected to rope in actor-turned-politician Vijayakanth’s Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam.
Both AIADMK-BJP and DMK-Congress alliance is expected to face considerable opposition from new entrants such as cine superstar Kamal Hassan’s Makkal Needhi Mandran, which will contest all 39 seats.
PTI contributed to this story