The relationship between BJP and ADMK to get cosier
BJP is also hopeful of increasing its political footprint in Tamil Nadu but insists this should not be at the expense of AIADMK.
BJP leaders and Union ministers ET talked to have maintained that the proximity with AIADMK will only increase in the coming days. Some said the two parties have always worked in tandem on a host of issues in 'national interest' and this is not going to change in future.
BJP is also hopeful of increasing its political footprint in Tamil Nadu but insists this should not be at the expense of AIADMK. "The mature manner in which AIADMK has handled the affairs after Jayalalithaa's death shows that the party is capable of sorting out its problems. OPS (O Panneerselvam) has the legitimacy to be Jayalalithaa's successor as chief minister. Whenever there was a crisis, she chose him as CM," a senior BJP office-bearer told ET. Any split in AIADMK will not do BJP any good, feel party leaders. "A split in AIADMK will only benefit DMK and Congress in Tamil Nadu," the BJP leader said.
As Chief Minister of Gujarat, Modi worked closely with Jayalalithaa in taking on the Congress-led UPA. At any national conclave of chief ministers in Delhi, the two would be in the forefront in slamming the Manmohan Singh government for meting out step-brotherly treatment to their respective state.
Modi had kept in touch with Jayalalithaa and both attended each other's swearing-in ceremonies too. The Prime Minister had also rushed doctors from AIIMS to Chennai when Jayalalithaa fell ill. In a series of tweets, Modi condoled her death and later flew to Chennai to pay respects to her.
"Deeply saddened at the passing away of Selvi Jayalalithaa. Her demise has left a huge void in Indian politics. Jayalalithaaji's connect with citizens, concern for welfare of the poor, the women & marginalised will always be a source of inspiration… I will always cherish the innumerable occasions when I had the opportunity to interact with Jayalalithaaji. May her soul rest in peace," Modi said on twitter.
BJP remains a minor political force in Tamil Nadu and hence has the compulsion to work with AIADMK, whereas the latter will need the Centre for implementing programmes that need financial support. "We do not have an adversarial relationship. AIADMK has always given us issue-based support at the national level," BJP General Secretary Murlidhar Rao told ET. However, BJP does not see AIADMK becoming a NDA partner.
AIADMK has been wary of being seen as too close to the BJP as it feels this will affect its Muslim vote bank in Tamil Nadu. But AIADMK leaders like M Thambidurai, Deputy Speaker in Lok Sabha, and V Maitreyan, Rajya Sabha MP, have good equations with the BJP leadership in Delhi and has helped the two parties work closely in Parliament. "We may have electoral differences but have friendly relations," Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu said.