NaMo's Chennai visit of political interest

Last Updated: Fri, Oct 18, 2013 07:34 hrs

Chennai: Narendra Modi's scheduled visit to Tamil Nadu on Friday, the second in three weeks, has come as a concern for the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), the ruling party in the state.

On Friday, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s prime ministerial candidate would deliver the 2013 Nani Palkhivala memorial lecture at the University of Madras. He would also release BJP leader Arun Shourie's book 'Self-deception: India's China policies.'

About two weeks ago, Modi's rally at Trichy drew about 1,25,000 people. In his speech, translated from Hindi to Tamil, Modi referred neither to the AIADMK, nor the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa isn't expected to be present at Friday's event. BJP sympathiser and journalist Cho Ramaswamy, considered the go-between in BJP-AIADMK ties, would be present at the book release.

The reception Modi gets in Chennai would be crucial to the AIADMK's decision-likely to be announced in December-on whether it would tie up with any party ahead of the coming general elections or contest all the 40 seats in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry on its own.

If it enters into a seat-adjustment arrangement, Tamil Nadu's eight per cent floating voters, especially urban ones, would have an alternative in the Modi-led BJP.

On its own, the BJP doesn't have the wherewithal, in terms of cadres and party organisation, to run alone in the state. For Tamil Nadu, the BJP has a long-term vision-conceding it does not have the required strength in the state, party leaders feel in the succession war expected to break out in the AIADMK in 15-20 years, it would be in a position to poach most of the AIADMK votes.

Modi's visit to Tamil Nadu is being closely watched by the DMK, too. It would be vital to how the DMK cobbles its own alliances-with the Congress, as well as other parties.

If Jayalalithaa decides to strike an alliance with the BJP, her other partner would be the Left parties, a bizarre combination considering the Left parties' antipathy towards the BJP is hardly a secret.

Alliance politics would be put to test in the Yercaud Assembly by-election in the state, scheduled for

December 4. The seat was held by the AIADMK. Earlier this week, the DMK announced its candidate for the seat-V Maran, a 36-year-old Salem-based businessman who hails from a family of former Yercaud MLAs. The AIADMK hasn't announced a candidate for the seat yet.

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