The BJP in Tamil Nadu on Saturday ruffled the feathers of its ally AIADMK after the state chief L Murugan claimed that it would be the national party that will decide the chief ministerial candidate (CM) for the upcoming Assembly elections. While maintaining that an alliance is in place, Murugan told the media that an official decision on who will be leading the alliance will also be made by the ruling BJP.
The Tamil Nadu BJP president made these remarks in the state’s Ariyalur district while interacting with the public there about the controversial farm bills. His announcement comes despite the fact that the AIADMK has already held an executive body meeting and decided that Edappadi K Palaniswami will remain the Chief Ministerial candidate for the party. Palaniswami was chosen after an intense deliberation within the AIADMK camp in October.
Chief Minister EPS, who is also the joint coordinator of the party, announced the formation of a steering committee, which was a demand put forth by Deputy CM O Panneerselvam. The members of the 11-member steering committee include Dindigul Sreenivasan, Thangamani, Velumani, D Jayakumar, C Ve Shanmugam, Kamaraj, JCD Prabakaran, Manoj Pandian, Mohan, Gopalakrishnan and Manickam.
The state BJP, however, has evidently ignored these developments. “The NDA alliance continues. But who will be leading this alliance and who will be the Chief Minister will be decided by the national party," L Murugan said.
When asked about AIADMK's leadership, he said, "An official announcement can be made only by our leadership."
Talking to TNM, a source from BJP said, “The AIADMK announced that the alliance will continue with the BJP for the upcoming elections when BJP leader and Union Home Minister Amit Shah visited Chennai and they have also said that we will continue as an NDA alliance. As per AIADMK, they also announced that Edappadi Palaniswami will be AIADMK’s CM candidate so it is their rights to make these announcements.”
However, “There will be a decision on alliance and Chief Minister candidate only when alliance talks take place. The EC will most likely conduct the elections in April so once an announcement on elections is made, we will start the talks,” he said.
On the visit of the national president, the BJP worker said, “BJP President JP Nadda will visit Chennai only for booth committee works. This has nothing to do with alliance. Even Amit Shah has given the instructions for us to do our works and not worry about the alliance.”
The BJP member said, “Keeping this in mind, BJP is working in all 234 constituencies to ensure victory. We are planning to conduct over 3,000 meetings across Tamil Nadu to entice voters.”
However, the statement by the BJP leader has led to a fissure between AIADMK and BJP alliance. The AIADMK leaders also expressed disapproval over the comment.
In response to this, AIADMK Minister D Jayakumar said that these claims were not acceptable. "It is true that the alliance continues; there is no difference of opinion regarding that. But, AIADMK has already decided that Edappadi Palaniswami will be the CM candidate and we have announced the same," he told the media.
"The alliance will be under our leadership and even leaders from Delhi have said that AIADMK will lead. You need 115 seats for a majority and AIADMK will get more than that, so it is naturally under our leadership. What will their role be? We will allot seats to BJP but only AIADMK will decide the CM candidate," he insisted.