Voices Tuesday, April 07, 2015 - 05:30
Dhanya Rajendran| The News Minute| May 14, 2014| 3.17 pm IST| Updated May 15, 2014| 12.13 pm IST Each of the following statements are true. Jayalalithaa Jayaram could get between 25-30 seats in the Lok Sabha polls. She has a friendly-now-not-so-friendly equation with Narendra Modi. She has 10 seats in the Rajya Sabha, she is focused on Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu two years later and the DA case against her in Bangalore is progressing steadily... How does the Madam in Poes Garden put all these variables together… Over the past few days, The News Minute has been speaking to various sources who have an inkling of what Amma is actually thinking. They all categorically agree about one thing - Jayalalithaa's first focus will be to cobble up a Third Front. On Wednesday morning, news channels broke the sound byte of an AIADMK leader and ex MP Malaisamy saying that if Modi becomes PM, Jayalalithaa would like to have cordial relations with him. Immediately Jayalalithaa’s office sends out ‘off record’ denials... That is how nervous they are about even the talk of a post-poll alliance. On Thursday, Malaisamy was expelled from the party for being disrepute. The AIADMK leader believes that in spite of exit polls giving NDA a comfortable majority, there is a chance for the Third front. Her political agenda is based on calculations that AIADMK will win more than 30 seats in Tamil Nadu. Jagan, Mamata, and Naveen Patnaik together can win around 60 seats. There are other players like Mayawati, Mulayam and even smaller parties like JD (S) that can be counted in. Jayalalithaa is also sure of the Left Front's support. These are Jayalalithaa's calculations despite the state intelligence unit telling her that the AIADMK could win a maximum of 28 seats. The plan now is to wait for the results and if the NDA is below the 250 mark, Jayalalithaa will activate the Third Front network. The other important question is what happens if the NDA has more than 250 seats and needs just a few numbers to attain majority, will Jayalalithaa join the NDA government? There is really no single answer to that question, as Amma is still undecided. Some of her aides have advised her to go with Modi, as being on the central government's side would be beneficial to the party. There are others who say a post-poll alliance with the NDA in which AIADMK is not a major player makes no political sense. So there are two signals emerging from the AIADMK camp... one that says ‘yes’ to a post poll alliance, the other that says not beneficial. Now to delve on what each side is saying. Those who want the alliance with the NDA argue that winning 25 or more seats and not being part of a government is a monumental waste. If the AIADMK can be a powerful NDA ally, then the party hopes that it will be given two to three ministries. Some names are already doing the rounds of who will be Amma’s chosen men to occupy a Union Minister’s office... Thambidurai and Maithreyan feature right on top of this list. But as of now, Jayalalithaa’s biggest worry is the DA case against her. If she is part of a central government, she will ask for help to tackle the case. Now on to the other side of the story. There are three crucial reasons that are stopping Jayalalithaa from making any overtures to the BJP. First is the dream of forming and heading a Third Front (as explained earlier). Second is the thought that if the AIADMK fares well against two formidable alliances, then it means the party can go it alone for the next Assembly polls and retain power. In the last few years, Jayalalithaa has staunchly opposed the centre’s interference in many state issues and her stand will not change. Straining relationships with Modi that way is something she wants to avoid. A close aide of Jayalalithaa showed me a picture he has stored dearly on his phone. The Indian flag, Jayalalithaa’s face embossed on it and the caption reads- ‘Prime Minister of India’. That is how serious Amma’s ambitions are. Third front, then Modi... that is the order of preference.

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