On Wednesday, Tamil Nadu BJP Vice President VP Duraisamy, claimed that the electoral battle in the state in 2021 would be between his party and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), as opposed to what was traditionally considered a tussle between two Dravidian parties. "The BJP has grown in Tamil Nadu. Earlier it was AIADMK versus the DMK. Now after the Ku Ka Selvam episode, it has become BJP versus DMK in the next Assembly elections," Duraisamy told reporters.
Duraisamy, who was referring to a recent incident where senior MLA Ku Ka Selvam was suspended from the DMK after differences with the party, went on to add that the BJP would lead the alliance between like minded parties in Tamil Nadu.
His statement led to a flurry of reactions from the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, with several leaders dismissing the claims. The state BJP meanwhile resorted to damage control, claiming that the battle that Duraisamy was referring to was 'ideological'. But sources in the party tell TNM that, ahead of the 2021 Assembly elections, dynamics in the alliance between BJP and AIADMK could change.
"This statement is also a way for us to keep our options open as far as an alliance is concerned," says a senior state BJP leader on the condition of anonymity. "We are not slaves to the AIADMK's whims and they need to understand that. We will see how matters proceed as we head closer to the elections and then decide about the alliance itself. Depending on the seat sharing agreement and how they treat us in this tie-up, we will take a call," he adds.
The BJP leader however does admit that VP Duraisamy's claims are not completely correct.
"He could have spoken that way to further his own image in the party," he says. "But ideologically speaking, this is definitely a battle between the DMK and BJP. Their problems with the three language policy or Hindi imposition is all directed towards the BJP," he adds.
Sources in the AIADMK however, say that they are not rattled by these proclamation"This is just a way for the BJP to bargain for positions in the upcoming elections and show that their options are open," says a source. "We can't read much into what they say because the ultimate decision is not even taken by the state unit. It is the central leadership of the party that takes a call," he adds.
The AIADMK source terms their ties with BJP as a 'marriage of convenience'.
"No one is keen about this option of alliance. It is a marriage of convenience for both parties," says the source. "As far as whether there will even be an alliance, will be decided in the coming months. The AIADMK's cards will only be played out right before the elections. Even if we don't want an alliance, it will only be revealed in January or after that. The BJP's can't fight this election alone and it doesn't seem likely that Rajinikanth is going to enter the arena, so there will be a lot of political changes in the coming months," he adds.