Rajinikanth is Amit Shah’s only hope to boost BJP’s prospects in Tamil Nadu

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December 23, 2014

Perhaps it's only the beginning of his long term plan for Tamil Nadu, but BJP president Amit Shah's visit to the state to energize the party didn't produce any breakthrough other than the entry of three new faces who at best can be described as small fry.

BJP president Amit Shah

December 23, 2014

Perhaps it's only the beginning of his long term plan for Tamil Nadu, but BJP president Amit Shah's visit to the state to energize the party didn't produce any breakthrough other than the entry of three new faces who at best can be described as small fry.

BJP president Amit Shah

One of them is a former DMK MP and junior union minister Napoleon who has been in political wilderness for a long time, while the other two – music director Gangai Amaran and a small time actress/choreographer Gayatri Raghuram – have no political relevance or mass base. Even for campaign purposes, they add no value. The party's eternal hope, superstar Rajinikanth, remained elusive.

On the other hand, the response from the existing allies has been cold. The DMDK leader Vijayakanth was busy with his Christmas celebrations and didn't pay attention to Shah's presence, although he was reportedly invited to meet him.

The PMK's second-in-command Anbumani Ramadoss did meet the BJP president, but his father and party president Ramadoss slammed the NDA government for the VHP's conversion efforts and its plan to observe 25 December (Christmas) as good governance day.

In the end, Shah and the state leaders didn't have a prominent face to showcase for the BJP, although he insisted that the party will go to assembly polls only after announcing the name of its chief ministerial candidate, or a concrete road map to power. In the existing pool of leaders or sympathisers, there is hardly anybody who is chief ministerial material. Its only possibility, although extremely distant, is Rajinikanth. He might be able to change the equations.

While the BJP wants to have its chief ministerial candidate ahead of the 2016 elections, the DMDK has made it very clear that if it has to be in an alliance, its main face has to be Vijayakanth. The PMK too has its chief ministerial hopeful in Anbumani. Evidently, both the parties are playing hard to get. Vijayakanth's cold shoulder and Ramadoss's criticism of the centre should be viewed in this context.

Ramadoss said that people had voted the BJP to power not to create a Hindu nation, but to work for the country's development. He said the "ghar wapsi" activities and the demand for a legislation to ban forcible conversions were the preparatory steps towards a Hindu nation. These efforts are against India's secularism and pluralism, he said. Recalling the demolition of Babri Masjid, he criticised the government for its inaction against the Sangh's ongoing activities.

Although the BJP-DMDK-PMK-MDMK alliance managed to poll 19 percent votes in the Lok Sabha elections, for the BJP, it's still a long way from running for the chief minister's office on its own or as a front leader. The existing partners such as the DMDK and the PMK would certainly not allow for any such dominance because playing politics in the state is its bread and butter.

Despite their claims, Amit Shah and the state leaders know that the only option for the BJP to be closer to power will be to be in a winning alliance, and that to be in an alliance, it has to keep its door open. Perhaps that's why Shah was relatively softer on the AIADMK while the state leaders were generally unsparing of both the Dravidian parties.

Meanwhile, there are efforts to bring the DMDK and DMK closer. Evangelical Church of India bishop Esra Sargunam has reportedly said at a Christmas celebrations hosted by the DMDK that he wanted to see the parties in alliance. Vijayakanth for the time being has ignored the suggestion, but would certainly take note of Sargunam's remark that he had been used by allies to come to power and had been subsequently dumped.


Courtesy: Firstpost