O Paneerselvam, the ex-chief minister of Tamil Nadu and the leader of a prominent faction within the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhakam (All India Anna Dravida Advancement Front) has indicated that his faction is open to an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Panneerselvam had been expected to support the BJP after some crucial interventions by central government agencies helped to secure his position within the party by neutralizing the threat from Jayalalitha’s companion Sasikala in recent weeks.
It is widely speculated that Panneerselvam managed to get the covert backing of the BJP in his struggle with the Sasikala faction in exchange for a future alliance with the saffron party.
Sasikala, who kicked Panneerselvam out of the AIADMK, is currently behind bars in a disproportionate assets.
“We will take a decision on alliance with BJP once local body elections are announced,” Panneerselvam tweeted in the morning today.
However, given that he is in talks with Sasikala faction leaders such as chief minister Palanisamy to reunify the party, the tweet created a lot of heartburn among rival faction leaders.
As a result, within 15 minutes, Panneerselvam was forced to clarify that he was not ruling out an alliance with non-BJP entities.
“We mean that only after the announcement of Local body elections we will think about the Alliance with any political party,” he tweeted.
Local body elections will be held in the state in the next two months.
The tweet comes in the context of Tamil superstar Rajinikanth announcing his intention to ‘clean up the political system’ in coming days, an apparent reference to his intention to float a new political party.
The BJP has not had much luck in carving out a substantial vote share in any of the four Dravidian states except Karnataka.
The current leadership, which is controlled by Amit Shah and Narendra Modi, is trying to broaden the party’s base from the cow-belt to other places.
The support given to Panneerselvam and a future alliance with the leader are key parts of the BJP’s strategy to ‘enter the south’.