Chennai, Sep 17 (Fresh Headline) With the national leadership of the BJP insisting that the Tamil Nadu AIADMK leadership stitch together an alliance with O. Panneerselvam (OPS), V.K. Sasikala and T.T.V. Dhinakaran for the Lok Sabha elections, the discussions between the two major constituents of the NDA have not moved forward.
There is merit in the BJP leadership pushing for an alliance with former Chief Minister, OPS, former interim general secretary of the AIADMK, V.K. Sasikala and her nephew and former MLA, TTV Dhinakaran as they have the powerful and solid Thevar vote bank in their fold.
The Thevar community is a powerful group in south Tamil Nadu with districts like Tirunelveli, Madurai, Theni, Thoothukudi its strongholds, and an AIADMK without OPS, Sasikala and Dhinakaran will not be good for the party.
The Thevars are a closely knit community and with a Gounder in Edappadi K. Palaniswami (EPS) at the helm of the AIADMK will turn negative for the party in south Tamil Nadu.
The Thevar community elders have a major say in how the community votes and with OPS, Sasikala and Dhinakaran kicked out of the party, there could be a backlash against the AIADMK in these districts.
Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, who is the main strategist of the BJP at the national level, in a recent discussion with Palaniswami told him of the need to include the estranged leaders who were earlier expelled from the AIADMK.
The only Lok Sabha MP for the AIADMK at present is O.P. Raveendranathan who represents Theni constituency and is the son of OPS.
R. Periyasamy, a social scientist and retired professor of sociology, told Fresh Headline that, “The Thevar vote bank is crucial for the AIADMK and if the three towering leaders of the community are not back in the AIADMK before the polls, it will lead to major losses for the party and the front.”
The BJP at the national level is expecting more than five seats for the party in the Lok Sabha polls from Tamil Nadu with the AIADMK alliance winning a good number of seats.
Sources in the BJP told Fresh Headline that the national leadership – read Amit Shah, is keen that the Thevar community leaders are back with the AIADMK and that this is necessary for the NDA alliance to get the maximum seats from Tamil Nadu.
Former chief minister and chief coordinator of the AIADMK, O. Pannerselvam was expelled from the party on July 11, 2022 while Sasikala and Dhinakaran were removed from the party much earlier. The AIADMK has not faced a major election after the removal of OPS who wields major clout in southern Tamil Nadu.
C. Rajeev, director, Centre for Policy and Development Studies, told Fresh Headline that, “While there was a major fight between OPS and EPS after the expulsion of the former, the national leadership of the BJP knows that OPS is not someone who can be pushed away. The move of Amit Shah, as revealed by BJP sources, will help the AIADMK recover lost ground in Tamil Nadu in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.”
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) of TTV Dhinakaran put up a commendable show securing 8.46% of the total votes polled and garnered 9,08,163 votes. The BJP poll managers are of the opinion that if these votes are added to the AIADMK kitty, then the situation for the AIADMK and BJP candidates would be much better in the 2024 general elections.
Amit Shah’s suggestion has however not been welcomed by EPS and other senior leaders close to him. According to sources AIADMK has communicated to the BJP leadership that there would not be any further alliance with OPS, Sasikala and Dhinakaran.
Sources in the BJP national leadership told Fresh Headline that Amit Shah will push his suggestion with facts and figures and convince EPS of the need for a joint front against the DMK.