While the Opposition INDIA bloc lurches from crisis to crisis, the ruling BJP seems to be finalising talks with its alliance partners.
The BJP’s deal with the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), which has an influence among Jats in western UP, is said to be “almost final”, with an announcement expected any day now. A political arrangement in Tamil Nadu seems to be next on the party’s agenda.
On Sunday, BJP national president J P Nadda will head to Tamil Nadu to address a public meeting at Mint Street, Harbour, in central Chennai. He will also meet former chief minister O Panneerselvam or OPS – who has been expelled from the AIADMK – as part of this visit.
Tamil Nadu BJP president K Annamalai’s “En Mann, En Makkal” (my land, my people) padayatra, which has been criss-crossing the state for the last six months, was initially supposed to be in Chennai Sunday, coinciding with Nadda’s visit. Annamalai was looking to hold a road show. The BJP has claimed that the DMK government has refused permission for the event.
There is buzz on the alliance front in Tamil Nadu too. Speaking to the media on Friday, OPS said: “Alliance talks are finalised. Talks are going on with the BJP. A mega alliance will be formed in Tamil Nadu to choose Narendra Modi as PM again.”
Nadda’s trip to Chennai will be under the spotlight to see the progress of this alliance move.
In the 2019 elections, the DMK-led coalition, of which the Congress is also a part, had won 38 of the 39 seats in the state. The Congress and the DMK have also recently reaffirmed their partnership and are holding seat-sharing talks.
In context: After a power tussle over the control of the AIADMK with party general secretary and ex-CM E Palaniswami or EPS, OPS was expelled from the party in July 2022. In May 2023, the Madras High Court dismissed his appeal over the use of the AIADMK’s flag, election symbol and letterhead.
In September 2023, the AIADMK said it was breaking “all ties with the BJP-led NDA alliance” and cited the BJP’s attacks, particularly by Annamalai, on the party as the reason. The BJP and the AIADMK also held talks to resolve issues, but senior BJP leaders were said to have not shown an inclination to “rein in” Annamalai as demanded by the AIADMK.
Subsequently, in January, indicating that a new political shift was underway in the state, T T V Dhinakaran, who heads the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK), a breakaway faction of the AIADMK, hinted at a possible alliance with the BJP-led NDA as well as OPS.
Dhinakaran had said there was nothing wrong in joining hands with the BJP, though a decision had not been taken. He said that while he had criticised the Modi government earlier, it was because of its schemes affecting farmers and people of Tamil Nadu, and that the BJP had “altered its stand”.
UP legislators to visit Ram Temple
About three weeks after the consecration ceremony of the Ram Lalla Temple in Ayodhya, many members of both Houses of the Uttar Pradesh Legislature will visit the Temple on Sunday. Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav has declined the invitation.
The MLAs and MLCs have been invited by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and UP Assembly Speaker Satish Mahana to “offer prayers before Ram Lalla in the newly inaugurated Temple in Ayodhya”.
During a discussion on the Budget in the House on Saturday, the Speaker said to Akhilesh, “You come with us to Ayodhya tomorrow.”
Responding to this, Akhilesh, who is the Leader of the Opposition, said: “We will go only when Lord Shri Ram calls us.”
With the exception of the SP leaders, most legislators will be in Ayodhya Sunday.
Shah in Karnataka
Union Home minister Amit Shah will be in Karnataka Sunday. He will offer prayers at the Chamundeshwari temple in Mysore in the morning. He will later address the Suttur Jathra Mahothsava. The annual festival is organised in commemoration of Adi Jagadguru Sri Shivarathreeshwara Shivayogi Swami, who founded the Sri Veerasimhasana Mahasamsthana Mutt in Suttur. Political leaders are regular at these fairs. Last year saw the participation of a host of leaders including then CM Basavaraj Bommai, current CM Siddaramaiah, BJP veteran BS Yediyurappa, Janata Dal (Secular) leader H D Kumaraswamy as well as Union ministers Prahlad Joshi and Shobha Karandalaje.
—- With PTI inputs