The recent decision by the AIADMK, a prominent political player in Tamil Nadu, to sever ties with the BJP has left the party’s future hanging in the balance. Speculation is rife about whether this breakup was a mutual agreement or a unilateral choice. The AIADMK’s trajectory will be shaped by the BJP’s performance in upcoming elections and its ability to secure potential alliances.
If the BJP opts for an independent path, the AIADMK could lose support and weaken as an opposition force. Conversely, reuniting with the BJP might have negative repercussions, including a potential loss of minority and Dalit votes.
Notably, in April 2019, just ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, AIADMK leader Edappadi K Palaniswami justified the alliance with the BJP, citing the need for a national leader after Jayalalithaa’s passing. However, political dynamics have shifted since then.
The recent rupture in the AIADMK-BJP alliance raises questions about whether it was a carefully orchestrated strategy or a permanent divorce. Some wonder if this move aims to pave the way for a reunion before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections or if it signals a post-electoral realignment.
AIADMK’s general secretary, EPS, asserts that the breakup is definitive. Yet, BJP leaders in Delhi suggest that the situation may become clearer after the upcoming state elections.
A strong BJP showing could offer a fresh start for the party in Tamil Nadu, potentially with OPS, AMMK, and Sasikala as allies. However, if the BJP performs poorly, it might feel compelled to bring the AIADMK back into the fold, whether willingly or unwillingly. In such a scenario, Annamalai, the current state BJP president, might need to defer his ambitious plans for the state party.
The AIADMK’s stance remains a question mark. If the BJP decides to chart its own course, some AIADMK allies might switch sides, weakening the main opposition party in Tamil Nadu. However, rejoining the BJP comes with its own set of challenges. The AIADMK’s share of minority votes dwindled after aligning with the BJP, and there’s a risk of losing Dalit votes, historically opposed to the BJP.
Furthermore, voters might perceive any AIADMK decision or strategy as a temporary move, assuming a return to the BJP’s fold sooner or later. There’s growing animosity toward Annamalai and his attitude within the AIADMK, which played a role in the decision to break away.
For the BJP, the AIADMK’s breakup is seen as a victory, particularly among Annamalai’s supporters. Although some leaders intend to contest the Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu in alliance with the AIADMK, many within the BJP favor ending the association.
The BJP has had plans to grow its footprint in Tamil Nadu, notably expressed by Annamalai’s statement that the party could only thrive if it contested independently. The threat of exposing corruption allegations against both the DMK and AIADMK added to the discomfort.
The situation remains fluid, with the assembly elections in several states potentially altering the dynamics. Regardless, the AIADMK-BJP relationship may never return to its former state, whether in alliance or otherwise.