Chennai: Launching its campaign for the 2021 Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, the ruling AIADMK on Sunday sought to place its “list of achievements” before the people to seek a renewed mandate for a third straight term.
While its two top leaders – party co-coordinator and Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and coordinator and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam – steered clear of any controversial declaration; a couple of its second line leaders came out with all guns blazing overshadowing the speeches of the two leaders.
The AIADMK’s outspoken deputy coordinator K P Munusamy sent a warning to allies saying that his party would not favour a coalition government at any cost. Also, he rejected the claim that the Dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu had failed the State.
“There is no meaning or need for a coalition government. If any national or regional party wants to forge an alliance with the AIADMK, they have to be cognisant of this aspect,” he thundered.
Munusamy hit out at those “calculating” that they could gain a toehold in Tamil Nadu in the absence of towering Dravidian leaders like M G Ramachandran, Jayalalithaa and M Karunanidhi (DMK). He said some national parties and opportunists were trying to finish off the Dravidian movement but they will fail.
His outbursts must be seen against the backdrop of allies playing truant in recent months.
Though Palaniswami and Panneerselvam had declared that the AIADMK’s alliance forged with the DMK, PMK, DMDK and a few other parties for last year’s Lok Sabha polls was intact, in reality, strains were visible in the NDA in Tamil Nadu. Despite the two leaders voluntarily declaring in the presence of Home Minister Amit Shah last month that their alliance with the BJP will continue, the national party has not reciprocated in unequivocal terms. Besides, the PMK and DMDK are playing hardball contending that they will decide on their respective positions for the Assembly elections only after convening internal meetings.
Of late, several State and national BJP leaders have refused to openly endorse Palaniswami as the Chief Ministerial candidate.