Issue :   
December 2017 Edition of Power Politics is updated.         December 2017 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:Dec' 2017


Is BJP changing goal posts?

Santosh Kumar

Narendra Modi It may not be accidental that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in Chennai to attend a function early November, decided at the last moment to call on the ailing patriarch of the Dravida movement, M Karunanidhi, at his residence in Gopalapuram, just walking distance from the other famous address in Chennai: Veda Nilayam, Poes Garden.
It also may not be just a coincidence that the visit took place a day before Ulaganayakan Kamal Haasan was supposed to spell out his political plans. Since anything is possible in politics it is quite natural that both DMK and BJP functionaries said the visit had "nothing to do with politics" and was "just a courtesy call". By the 15-minute audience with the nonagenarian, was Modi testing waters for his party? May or may not.

M Karunanidhi Though Kamal Haasan refrained from launching a political party forthwith as was expected by legions of his celluloid fans, Modi's unscheduled meeting with the grand old man of TN politics has set off an array of speculation in political circles. Those who have observed Prime Minister Modi and his trusted party president Amit Shah for the past three-and-a-half years know that they are not given to making such gestures without political motives. Especially since the BJP's bonding with the other Dravidian party, ruling Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, is not meeting the expectations of the two. This is despite much help from the Centre by deputing income ax sleuths to pounce on Sasikala's M'annargudi Clan'.

Sasikala It is as clear as daylight that since the untimely death of its supreme leader J Jayalaltithaa last December, the party has been dying a natural death. Of course it is supposedly in power. But it took a cartoonist's lampooning and his subsequent arrest to make the rest of the country sit up and take note that there is indeed a government in Tamil Nadu. If at all its governing leaders are in the news, it is all about coming together or parting of ways.
Meanwhile farmers continue to commit suicide, dengue is spreading like an epidemic and Chennai is once again at the mercy of rain gods. The absence of 'Amma' is omnipresent in almost all walks of life in the state.

Jayalalitha It is quite natural that the BJP, which is desperately looking for a foothold in the state before the 2019 general elections, is running out of patience with the current ADMK leadership. Hopes of Tamil superstar 'Style Mannan' Rajinikanth propping up the BJP, or at least playing a supporting role in the party's political game plans, are fading.
Kamal Haasan, the other silver screen hero with political ambitions, is averse to the 'kamal' and has made his intentions clear by hobnobbing with the Marxist chief minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal. However, Karunanidhi had supported the BJP government led by Atal Behari Vajpayee and may not be totally against the idea of a re-alignment with the party.

Kamal Haasan There are certain factors that could influence the future course of Tamil politics. Karunanidhi has all but passed the baton on to son MK Stalin, but favourite daughter Kanimozhi , a sitting Rajya Sabha MP, is still under the cloud of the Rs 200-crore 2G scam. So is her mother Dayalu Ammal and family confidant A Raja, former Union minister.
And the BJP has been accused of using the CBI to browbeat opponents to submission. Stalin and Kanimozhi may not always be on the same political page, but there are no known differences between the two. The saving grace for DMK is that it is a cadre-based party with a clear ideology and hence may not disintegrate after Karunanidhi's time.
Stalin so far has proved to be levelheaded limiting his ambitions within the state and has acted as a mature politician by not trying to bring down the Palani Swami-led ADMK government through unethical means.

Pinarayi Vijayan Stalin has not spelt out his stance on the BJP other than criticising the party issue-wise as was the case with the recent controversy surrounding the Tamil film 'Mersal'. The "BJP's attempt to muzzle criticism is contrary to democratic principles," he had tweeted at that time.

MK Stalin Also neither he nor Kanimozhi felt it necessary to invite anyone from the BJP to attend their father's birthday celebrations in Chennai last June. At that time it was considered an opposition conclave though nothing much came out of that gathering. All these do not augur well for a BJP

Rajinikanth DMK alliance in future which appears too far-fetched. The BJP has been generous in its support to Palani Swami and company from Delhi. The party has made no bones about its intentions. Only now the leadership may be feeling the absence of former Union minister

Venkaiah Naidu Venkaiah Naidu who had been instrumental in bringing the current ADMK leadership close to the BJP.

Kanimozhi Though Naidu has not fully refrained from making political statements despite being vice-president of the country, it is very unlikely that he will use his position to better BJP's cause.

Panneerselvam But the current dispensation is known BJP spring surprises. The Prime Minister's new-found desire to meet the ailing Karunanidhi is considered one such instance. Those who see an ulterior motive in it point out that during Modi's trip to Chennai to pay homage to Jayalalithaa, the DMK leader was in

Palani Swami hospital, and quite critical too. The PM did not call on him at that time. Then the priorities were different. But the party's overtures to Sasikala did not bear fruit,

Dayalu Ammal compelling it to back Panneerselvam and now Palani Swami. The DMK could be the BJP's last hope, but it is most unlikely to bask in the glory of the rising sun in the near future.