In veiled message to BJP, AIADMK asserts Palaniswami as CM candidate; dismisses power-sharing

The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) launched its election campaign on Sunday in Chennai asserting that chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami will be their candidate for the top post and that there will be no power-sharing in a veiled reference to its ally the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“Whether national or regional parties come in, the government will be headed by the AIADMK,” said KP Munusamy, AIADMK’s deputy coordinator and MP, at the campaign meeting. “There is no scope for a coalition government and there is no need for it. If any party comes to us with that intention, I urge you to rethink.”

The BJP had partnered with the ruling AIADMK government for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and have recently made comments toying with the idea of a coalition government if the alliance wins the 2021 assembly elections in Tamil Nadu. The party has been dragging its feet on endorsing Palaniswami.

BJP’s former national secretary H Raja told reporters in Kanyakumari on Sunday that there was no problem between the alliance partners. “It’s a procedural issue,” said H Raja. “BJP is a national party so the parliamentary board will make decisions and announce it. There is no controversy; it has been made into a controversy.”

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The state BJP leaders have maintained this standpoint. As the issue escalated recently, BJP’s state president L Murugan clarified that in the present scenario, Palaniswami is the chief minister of the NDA alliance in Tamil Nadu but reiterated that it was for the party heads in Delhi to make announcements. However, when this question was put forth to Union minister for environment Prakash Javadekar who was in Chennai Friday, he also remained non-committal.

Munusamy said that few parties were attempting to discredit the Dravidian rule in Tamil Nadu. “Since 1967 when Anna (CN Annadurai, founder, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam- DMK) formed the government, Dravidian rule has ensured that no national party can enter Tamil Nadu,” said Munusamy.

Following the death of Annadurai in 1969, M Karunanidhi became chief minister and in 1972 he expelled MG Ramachandran (MGR) from the party. In October 1972, MGR floated the (Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) ADMK which was later renamed as the AIADMK. Munusamy added that those trying to use the opportunity in the absence of MGR and his successor J Jayalalithaa should understand 50-years of Dravidian rule. “Some national parties and opportunists are saying that Dravidian rule spoiled the state,” he said posing a question on how the AIADMK government could be criticised when it has won awards for its governance from the Centre.

Speaking after Munusamy, Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam refrained from the topics of alliance but trained their guns on attacking opposition DMK leader MK Stalin. Palaniswami reiterated his earlier statements that the DMK practised dynasty politics and that Stalin’s complaints against him and other ministers, that ran for 97-pages, were lies.

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