At a time when the BJP is trying to put pressure on the AIADMK government, Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami has sent a clear signal to the national party that it will not buckle under BJP threats and indicated that the AIADMK would not have any alliance with the BJP for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls. Addressing a party rally in Madurai on July 15, Edappadi Palaniswami indicated to the BJP that the AIADMK will go it alone in the Lok Sabha elections and that it would not have any truck with the BJP.

The chief minister also claimed that the AIADMK will sweep the Lok Sabha polls and reiterated late Jayalalithaa’s slogan “Naalai Namadhae, Naarpadhum Namadhae” (Tomorrow is ours, all 40 seats will also be ours).

This was a loud and clear message sent out from the party to the BJP high command that the AIADMK was ready to take on the BJP challenge and that it was ready to call BJP’s bluff. The CM’s emphatic reply has come as a sharp rejoinder to criticism of the AIADMK by top BJP leaders including its national president Amit Shah and its minister from Tamil Nadu, Pon Radhakrishnan.

The chief minister’s sharp political retort made it clear that all was not well between the two parties and that the AIADMK was making preparations to go it alone,  if necessary. The appointment of a high level committee, which would function like the parliamentary board of the past, would decide on the party strategy for the Lok Sabha elections, indicating that the AIADMK was getting ready for the polls and wanted to be in the election mode.

In the run up to the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, the BJP had hoped that the AIADMK would form an alliance with the national party but Jayalalithaa decided against a tie-up with the BJP then and went on to sweep the polls.

The AIADMK, by reminding the BJP of the past, now wants to put on a bold face and give the impression that it was not ready to play second fiddle to the BJP.

The cold war between the two parties has now taken a new turn with the AIADMK showing no inclination of a soft stand towards the BJP. Only time will tell if the BJP has gone too far in its attempt at sabre-rattling. The BJP strategy of using a couple of raids to weaken the AIADMK and make it fall at the national party’s feet has backfired. They will have to try again with a fresh approach of respecting its partner.

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