AIADMK leaders use a government function to announce the continuance of the party’s alliance with the BJP in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah

Published : November 21, 2020 20:11 IST

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami (left) and Deputy Chief Minister O. Paneerselvam at the inauguration of various infrastructure projects, including the dedication of a new reservoir at Thervaikandigai in Tiruvallur district, at a function held in Chennai on November 21. Photo: S.R. Raghunathan

A function organised by the Tamil Nadu government in Chennai with taxpayers’ money was turned into a political platform to affirm the alliance between the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Bharatiya Janata Party in Chennai on November 21.

The function was organised to inaugurate a new reservoir for Chennai and to lay the foundation stone for the next phase of the Chennai Metro Rail Project and other infrastructure projects, in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O. Paneerselvam announced at the function that the AIADMK-BJP alliance would continue for the 2021 Legislative Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu. Both the AIADMK leaders also met Union Minister Amit Shah after the function.

This announcement has set to rest all the speculation over the continuance of the alliance. The AIADMK and the State unit of the BJP were sparring over many issues in the State. Despite the debacle the alliance faced in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, in which it lost all but one of the 39 seats at stake, and the wish of some AIADMK leaders wanting to opt out of the alliance, the announcement for the alliance has been made, proving that it is the BJP which is calling the shots.

Earlier, when Amit Shah arrived in Chennai almost the entire Cabinet, including the Chief Minister, were at the airport to receive him. A Chief Minister receiving a Union Home Minister is rare, but Palaniswami did not want to leave anything to chance or send a wrong signal to the powerful Home Minister.

At the function, Amit Shah attacked the Congress and the DMK for the “dynastic politics” and said that the people of Tamil Nadu would teach the combine a lesson. Alluding to the “2G scam” in the allotment of spectrum when the United Progressive Alliance was in power, he asked how the DMK could talk about corruption. Political observers point out that the Home Minister has apparently forgotten for a moment that the late Jayalalithaa, former Chief Minister and AIADMK chief, was convicted in the ‘disproportionate assets case’ and that the ’co-conspirators’ in the scandal, including her aide V.K. Sasikala, are still serving jail terms.

“There is no other way for them but to continue the alliance,” said Vaiko, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader. CPI(M ) State secretary K. Balakrishnan noted that no demand of the State had been fulfilled by these parties which are in power at the State and Central levels. Even the promised All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Madurai is yet to be constructed. Besides, on issues such as the hydrocarbon prospecting in the Cauvery delta and the Mekedatu reservoir project despite Tamil Nadu’s objections, the Central government is widely perceived to be taking an anti-Tamil Nadu stance. Both the MDMK and the CPI(M) are allies of the DMK.