For or against? A tightrope walk for AIADMK on no confidence motion by TDP

The AIADMK will be torn between supporting the Prime Minister and gauging the angst of the people in the state, only to end up abstaining from the vote itself.
For or against? A tightrope walk for AIADMK on no confidence motion by TDP
For or against? A tightrope walk for AIADMK on no confidence motion by TDP
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Hours after the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) quit the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre, speculation is rife on how Tamil Nadu's ruling party would react to the no confidence motion in Parliament.

While party spokesperson has already said AIADMK would support a no confidence motion if the Cauvery Management Board is not set up, Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam are expected to make a decision.

A motion of no confidence requires 50 members of the Lok Sabha to support the motion and over half the strength of members to pass. With M Thambidurai as Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the AIADMK is the third largest party in the house at 37 MPs.

It is no secret that the BJP at the centre has impinged on several political and policy issues in the state. In fact, Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam himself recently admitted in a public meeting that it was on account of Prime Minister Modi’s intervention that he accepted the post of Deputy CM after a bitter battle between the two AIADMK factions.

While the motion is unlikely to be supported and much less be passed given BJP’s numerical superiority in the Lok Sabha, the AIADMK's reaction to the move would be a significant marker of its priorities for the people of the state.

"The decision will be taken by EPS and OPS. I think they will prefer to abstain," a senior leader of the party, also a member of the Lok Sabha told TNM.

Cauvery Management Board

On Thursday, the Legislative Assembly in the state passed a unanimous resolution urging the Centre to set up the Cauvery Management Board as mandated by the Supreme Court in its verdict.

With the Centre raising doubts about the interpretation of the board, several leaders in the state had slammed the Centre for its diversionary tactics.

Last week, following a meeting of chief secretaries of the Cauvery Basin states with Union Ministry of Water Resources, the Centre chose to side with Karnataka’s argument. Karnataka is slated to go to polls in May this year.

The issue which has plunged farmers in the sad into sadness is expected to play a major role in the AIADMK’s decision on the no confidence motion.

There is also major pressure on the party from the opposition.

Speaking to media persons in Erode, Leader of Opposition and DMK Working President MK Stalin said on Friday, "Chandrababu Naidu has realised that PM Modi has not kept any of the promises made to him. That is why his party's MPs had already resigned. Not just that, they have also said they will no longer support the BJP. It is upsetting that this soodu(anger) and soranai(sense) has not been realised by OPS and EPS."

Earlier, MK Stalin had urged all Members of Parliament from Tamil Nadu to resign in protest.

Saffron politics in the state

Earlier this month, the BJP came under fire for stoking violence and causing pandemonium in the state.

A vitriolic post on BJP National Secretary H Raja’s Facebooke regarding Dravidian icon EVR Periyar’s statue was followed by acts of vandalism on Periyar’s statue. A Periyarist group retaliated by cutting of holy threads of a few Brahmins in Chennai.

Following the violence and protests, leaders in the state had condemned H Raja and the BJP. Many took to the streets to protest the saffron party’s politics in the state and called for the removal of H Raja from the party along with an apology from him.

The Tamil Nadu government was severely criticised for saying that no action need be taken on H Raja given that he had deleted the post. Following the uproar on social media, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister came up with a stronger condemnation of the events.

The incident prompted several parties to condemn the ruling government and protest the ‘satellite control’ the Centre allegedly has.

History of anger

Since the death of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in December 2016, several hard hitting issues in the state have caused the people of Tamil Nadu to agitate.

From the January 2017 jallikattu protest to the suicide of medical student Anitha in September last year on account of the NEET examinations to tax revenues being directed from the southern states to the north to the setting up of the Cauvery Water Management Board, the government has faced one criticism after another.

With reports of constant internal strife within the party itself, the government has also been unable to counter the interference of Governor Banwarilal Purohit in administrative affairs of the state.

The no confidence motion against the BJP is sure to warrant a careful balancing act by the AIADMK. One sure shot way to truly ‘balance’ would be to abstain and not move at all which is what, party sources say, is likely to happen.

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