BJP should go alone in Tamil Nadu

The recent election polls indicate that there is a strong wave in favour of Narendra Modi (NaMo) in parts of Northern, Western and Central part of India.

However in the Southern and  Eastern parts, BJP appears to have not achieved the required breakthrough. In West Bengal, Mamta Bannerjee appears to be holding her fort and in Tamil Nadu (TN), Jayalalitha holds the key.

Mamta Bannerjee does not appear to be a PM candidate but there are some ambitions in J.Jayalalitha (JJ)  or at least her party members that she can be a PM prospect. The irony however is that JJ was considered to be personally close to Mr Modi all these years while Mamta was always against him. But in the post poll scenario JJ seems to be a threat to NaMo while Mamta appears to be a reluctant ally.

In this background BJP has to decide its electoral strategy in TN. Assuming that JJ would not be interested in any pre poll alliance with NaMo, BJP has to fight against JJ. DMK has split and become weaker than what it was before. It is therefore a distinct possibility that AIADMK can sweep TN and end up as the largest party in the Parliament after BJP and Congress. In such a scenario, JJ can be pressurized to make an attempt to head a third front.

While JJ is by herself very capable and had she been from a national party could have done a good job as a PM, she may not be as effective as she may like to in leading a third front with several regional parties pulling in different directions. She is too strong to accommodate any body else such as Mamta or Naveen Patnaik or Mayavati and an attempted arrangement which includes such parties will be doomed to fail and will also take a heavy toll on the delicate health of JJ.

My guess is that JJ is very intelligent and knows pretty well that if she accepts the challenge, she would also dilute her control on TN politics and leave a back door for DMK to claw back.  If however, in the post poll scenario, she opts to support NaMo, she may reap lot of benefits including central ministerial berths for her party as well as other kinds of support to her State. Hence instead of opting for a short term glory ending up as an Ex Prime Minister who tried hard but failed to manage a conglomerate of a number of regional parties, she would consider it better in the long term to retain a proxy control on the center.

I therefore think that she would opt to go alone in the pre poll scenario and then decide to support NaMo later at his request extracting her pound of flesh.

In such a scenario, the option available for BJP is to work towards improving its post poll negotiation strength . To achieve this, BJP needs to get as much mileage as possible in the TN during the polls.

However it would not be a good idea for BJP to tie up with Vaiko under a pre-poll alliance partner. Mr Vaiko has a limited support base in TN and cannot contribute more than one seat at the best. On the other hand he is a known LTTE supporter and is diametrically opposed to NaMo’s policy of united India. Whatever support Vaiko enjoys is from a hard core Eelum support base and they need to be kept at arms length. Mr Vaiko has earlier teamed up with both DMK and AIADMK and does not have any policy of his own except Eelum. He has also been jailed earlier for anti national activities.

It will therefore be a huge mistake for BJP to tie up with such an anti national outfit. It may actually cost BJP some voter support which otherwise would be drifting towards them. There is a strong current of nationalism and patriotism in TN which has remained subdued since there are no national parties to support outside the allies of AIDMK and DMK. This voter base would be happy of a non AIADMK, Non DMK nationalist party is available as a choice. In this election where there is no local governance involved, NaMo fits in the bill of a “Nationalist Leader” more powerfully than any other leader in the recent past. It is therefore expected that some of the traditional voter base of Congress will look at NaMo as a credible alternative.Hence BJP has a good chance of increasing their vote share significantly.

It is also possible that some of the support base of DMK may also support BJP to stop JJ from becoming the PM which would be a serious ego hurt for Karunanidhi. There may therefore be an under current of support flowing from DMK to BJP since they are aware that they are on their own not capable of winning beyond two or three seats. The split with Alagiri faction is also likely to diminish the prospect of DMK further and there will be no surprise if they draw a blank in the state.

With the possibility of vote shift from Congress and DMK, BJP therefore has a good chance of winning a few seats on its own in TN if it contests without any allies. It will then reduce the clout of JJ in the post poll scenario.

I therefore urge BJP to take the advise of Mr Subramanya Swamy and forget the pro-Eelum voter base and pitch for a strategy of liberating TN from the “Regional outlook” to embrace a “National” outlook.  This would be a call for reversing the earlier trend where TN has remained separated from the national stream with its “Dravidian” focus. Now the focus should be on how to retain the regional pride without giving up the national outlook. Since this is a Loksabha election, it is possible to credibly sell Modi as a national leader without in any way discrediting the local sentiments which are torn between the two main dravidian parties and several splinter groups.

Hope Mr NaMo looks into this seriously.


As a Citizen of India

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