Bihar Conquered, Modi Rath Moves South With Eyes On Tamil Nadu

The next big political upheaval will happen in Tamil Nadu, where non-Dravidian parties have not succeeded so far.

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Politics
4 min read
 Given Rajinikanth’s proximity to the PM, his would-be party is expected to form an alliance with the BJP, giving the saffron party an edge over its rivals.
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Bihar Conquered, Modi Rath Moves South With Eyes On Tamil Nadu

When the country is busy discussing the dramatic developments of the last few hours in Bihar, notice what Prime Minister Narendra Modi did on Thursday. He reached Rameswaram, inaugurating APJ Abdul Kalam's memorial by hoisting the national flag, and flagging off a train between Ayodhya and Rameshwaram, besides taking part in many other events.

The next big political upheaval will happen in Tamil Nadu politics, a state where non-Dravidian parties have not been able to stand on their own two feet so far.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), despite its decades-long effort, has not been able to make any significant inroads. The party’s performance in the last elections was pretty dismal by its by now-lofty standards.

Split In the AIADMK to Help the BJP

After former TN chief minister Jayalalithaa's death, the BJP smells an opportunity. The AIADMK has broken into two factions – one led by Chief Minister E Palaniswami and the other by ousted CM O Panneerselvam. Both are supporting the BJP, as was evident during the Presidential elections.

What is obvious is that one of the factions will form an alliance with the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. What is not so clear though, is which of the two that will be.

The BJP, however, is trying to import and merge AIADMK factions (or at least one of them) lock, stock and barrel, so that it has a well-oiled party machinery available to itself. BJP General Secretary Muralidhar Rao, among others, is working overtime to execute this plan. The BJP is hoping to get at least one faction – the ruling dispensation – to join it. If not, then at least form an alliance to taken on the DMK-led alliance.

Rajinikanth’s Next Move Will Be Crucial

The other part of the gameplan revolves around Rajinikanth, who has given enough hints that he’s thinking of launching a party. Given Rajinikanth’s proximity to the PM, his would-be party is expected to form an alliance with the BJP, giving the saffron party an edge over its rivals.

Jayalalithaa’s absence is not the only reason for the superstar to consider joining politics. Observers say that the BJP may have prodded him to do so. BJP leaders reckon that Modi’s premium gives the party the headstart required to be converted into votes. A party machinery is required to make that conversion possible. Hence a concerted effort to look for allies in the southern state. 

Crafting a Dravidian-looking regional alliance is the only way it can hope to make big gains in the southern state. Therefore, a triangle of an AIADMK faction, Rajinikanth’s would-be party and the BJP has the potential to sweep polls in Tamil Nadu. Yet another small party, the PMK, a Vanniyar caste political formation had partnered with the BJP in the 2014 elections. That arrangement will most likely continue.

Modi-Shah on a ‘Conquer All’ Mission

The Tamil Nadu plan is underway, so let us prepare ourselves to hear something seemingly unexpected from that quarter. While such news breaks look sudden, they are well-scripted with all loose ends properly tied off. The suddenness is what surprises us. But that is for lesser mortals. The Modi machinery has been executing them with precision, one at a time.

On Bihar, there were enough signs, and we were debating the possibility of Nitish Kumar keeping the option of joining the NDA, but at a later date. When the new President was sworn in, however, the Modi machine moved to its next task the very next day. Or so it seems – I am sure the script was given its final touches long ago.

Besides Bihar and Tamil Nadu, Bengal too falls in the same category for the BJP, which is expected to leave nothing to chance to expand its footprint.

The Bengal plan has already begun to unfold – the political and social temperature is rising, and it is anticipated that CM Mamata Banerjee and her colleagues too will face the heat of enforcement agencies, the way Lalu Yadav and his family members are.

What is going to be the likely gain for the BJP may be a subject of debate. But what is on full display is the ruthless precision with which team Modi is going ahead to capture parts of the country that have been beyond the BJP’s reach thus far. There is no denying the energy and motivation of the Modi-Shah duo to win each and every inch available for capture.

(We all love to express ourselves, but how often do we do it in our mother tongue? Here's your chance! This Independence Day, khul ke bol with BOL – Love your Bhasha. Sing, write, perform, spew poetry – whatever you like – in your mother tongue. Send us your BOL at bol@thequint.com or WhatsApp it to 9910181818.)

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