File image of M.K. Alagiri | PTI Photo/R Senthil Kumar
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Election dates on the calendar are closer than they appear – this is something politicians are acutely aware of. And with Tamil Nadu assembly election scheduled for April-May 2021, the state’s political formulations are already in high-voltage mode. Ahead of an election without J. Jayalalithaa and M. Karunanidhi, Khushbu Sundar has already quit the Congress and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. And now, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s M.K. Alagiri is also poised to float his own party, even as Union Home Minister Amit Shah visits Tamil Nadu on Saturday. Call it coincidence or pieces of jigsaw puzzle falling in place.

But the real dark horse is T.T.V. Dinakaran, the moving spirit behind the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK). Incidentally, this is the only party in Tamil Nadu that does not have ‘Dravida’ in its name. This, by itself, is a huge, transformative political signal in the state. Heading a splinter group of the AIADMK formed after Jayalalithaa’s death by her friend and fidus Achates V.K. Sasikala, Dinakaran could play an important role in the coming days. A person with a spiritual bent of mind, an ardent cow worshipper (said to have never missed his daily pre-dawn gau puja), Dinakaran is also reported to have denounced the idea of north-south divide and the Aryan-Dravida theory. If handled properly, TTV, as he is popularly known among his followers, could tilt the political balance in the BJP’s favour.

There is likely to be much ideological affinity between the BJP and the AMMK. Dinakaran’s aunt Sasikala, who is serving a four-year jail term after being convicted in a disproportionate assets case, has paid the Rs 10 crore fine slapped on her by the trial court and later upheld by the Supreme Court. She could be out of jail by the year-end or early 2021, right on time to join the unfolding political drama in Tamil Nadu. Corruption tag notwithstanding, she could tour the state invoking the name of ‘Amma’ and try to win sympathies by projecting her jail term as ‘sacrifice to save the honour of Jayalalithaa’.

Alagiri, who also has an offer from the BJP to join the party as he contemplates floating his own, had incidentally denied all speculations of quitting the DMK in 2014. Party patriarch Karunanidhi had anointed M.K. Stalin as his successor while Stalin’s sister Kanimozhi latched on to his bandwagon. Alagiri was left out with no party position. In what looks like a repeat of Maharashtra situation vis-à-vis the Thackeray clan sibling war, Alagiri’s quitting will cause a vertical split in the DMK much to the benefit of the AIADMK-BJP combine. The BJP is determined to stop the DMK from making a comeback. And, ironically, it needs to do very little. The DMK, which dismissed the Congress in 1967, is now not even a shadow of its past stature.


Also read: BJP needs more than Khushbu Sundar to open account in Tamil Nadu. Star politics is over


AIADMK’s worries

Meanwhile, during his visit, Amit Shah will inaugurate Chennai’s fifth reservoir, lay the foundation stone for Phase-II of the over Rs 60,000 crore Chennai Metro Rail project, flyover at Coimbatore-Avinashi Road, shutter dam across Cauvery River in Karur district, expansion of Chennai trade centre, construction of a petroleum terminal at Vallur by Indian Oil Corporation, building of a lube plant at Ammulavoyal and a jetty at the Chennai Kamarajar port.

None of these projects come under his ministry and so they likely won’t get much media attention. What will make headlines, though, is his likely meeting with Rajinikanth, who has successfully kept every party guessing all along. He is unlikely to float a new party, or join an existing one. But his leanings are certainly towards the BJP and that itself is great news for the party, which seems to have made inroads lately with its unique Vetrivel Yatra movement. The Vel, a weapon associated with Murugan, symbolises the resentment over ‘derogatory’ remarks about a hymn sung in the deity’s praise, in a video by a YouTube channel allegedly linked to the DMK, which the party has denied. The BJP was quick to grab the opportunity and turn the incident into a popular movement to manoeuvre Hindu sentiments in its favour.

Though BJP state president L. Murugan has said that the alliance with the AIADMK stands, the E. Palaniswami government has strongly opposed the Vetrivel Yatra, saying it could disturb communal harmony in the state. This is contrary to the earlier stand of opposing the yatra only due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The fear of losing the minority votes to the DMK could be weighing heavily on the AIADMK. Interestingly, the party had allowed the ‘Ram Rajya Rath Yatra’ in March 2018, which actually galvanised the BJP’s cadre and brought a number of Hindu organisations under one banner.

It is no secret that both the Dravidian parties have lost their popular vote banks, popular leaders and ideological moorings by joining hands with the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance at different times. Yet, it is clear that they would like to see the back of Amit Shah and deny the BJP any political space in Tamil Nadu just as they did to the Congress. For the BJP, a non-Dravidian party would probably be a safer bet. Watch this space, the game has just begun.

The author is the former editor of ‘Organiser’. Views are personal.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. BJP is out to grab power everywhere. No alliance is unholy enough to reject. If BJP can take in a thug like Azhagiri, I would say BJP has sunk to its nadir. Principled politics of Jan Sangh and old BJP have been thrown into the Bay of Bengal.

  2. BJP should realize that the majority of its supporters are supporting it becasue it is not corrupt and NOT because it is a hindutva party. if it starts forming such alliances we may as well start voting for the original corrupt party.

  3. It is really a sad state of affaris that BJP is going to any extend for the sake of power. THAT family is the most ost corrupt family in the whole of india and the whole of tamilnadu knows it. if this alliance happens , mark my words, this will be the begining of the end for BJP following the congress route.
    all the best for the decline of BJP.

  4. Total misunderstanding of ground reality. Kushboo is a non factor, Alagiri is a thug and a dead weight to any party he’s associated with. TTV has a say, but not beyond 5 percent. ADMK and DMK are still strong. BJP is a non player here in TN. Without alliance they’ll not be able to garner more than 2% votes with zero constituency.

  5. If what Chari says comes true, TN will be greatly benefitted in as much as the corrupt Dravidian parties will be shown the door. But, will that happen is the big question. Chari is from the Saffron origin and we need to take his analysis, though music to my ears, with a large pinch of salt. Unfortunately, the entire Tamil people have become corrupt because corrupt practices of the Dravidian parties. At the time of voting, my domestic helps used to run to their villages to exercise their franchise. At first I was elated to see their commitment to democratic values much against the arm chair middle class of urban areas who out of cynicism would not walk up to the nearby school to discharge their democratic duty. Wisdom dawned upon me when I came to know , these domestic helps were rushing to their villages not for voting but to get the bribe money from competing candidates, making a fast buck. Additionally Chicken Briyani, ” a quarter” ( arrack) were elevating them to heavenly bliss!! With Dravidian parties, corruption has become an article of faith, their way of life and it is a gift of God that can never be refused. What a pity!!

    • Yes… Dravidian parties might be corrupt… but the fact is that TN is still much developed state under the same Dravidian parties rule than even GJ and MP that are being ruled by BJP govts for more than 20 years.

      • What development are you talking about. I traveled the hinterlands of tamilnadu, most people are poor and labourers working in the fields of selected few. You travel through a village in Maharashtra, you will see shops , good houses , cars parked and overall signs of well being everywhere. Now travel through the Chidambaram to Bangalore route via Salem and see how the things look.

  6. It’s ironical that every state BJP campaigns in is based on right wing extreme politics like the Vel Yatra and such events, to drive home a false point that Hinduism is under siege.

    With the advent of social media, this has become so easy and the citizens too have totally become gullible and accepting of such Hindutvaised news.

    The Dravidian parties especially DMK have to really bring in progressive and change politics for the benefit of the people to counter this.

    • There was a movie in Tamil just released last week, mostly the movie introspects so called hinduism, it also gave an opinion on Christian missionary school realities where kids face immense presure to foloow christianity. Because the platform where it is released has majority christian followers, those scenes were cut out after first day or two.

      Now when these things happens it plays into BJP’s hand.

  7. Wonder if the author has even tried to analyze his prospective partners’ record in corruption and underhand dealings.
    The prospect of power got the BJP tied up with the separatists in JK , and now
    they are rushing in for a slice of power in TN, in much the same way.

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