BJP goes hounding Amma as TN elections near

TAMIL NADU
M K Shukla

Whether it’s a stray case or emerging reality may be known with the passage of time. But if one goes by the statement of Union Power Minister Piyush Goel, it may look as if BJP is not unwilling to open a front against Amma in TN. In a video that has gone viral on social media, Goyal is seen describing the difficulties he faced as a Union minister in dealing with the Tamil Nadu government. In his speech on “Making India a Global Economic Superpower” at the Conference on Young Indians in New Delhi on March 25, Goyal said of Tamil Nadu, “It’s a state within a state.”
This may the first time ever that the BJP national leadership has gone the whole hog in attacking Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, so far seen as a potential ally. Tll last week, the party has been making faceless jibes on social media, including a cartoon showing Jayalaithaa’s aide Sasikala pulling puppet strings behind the CM. With the BJP now apparently resigned to the fact that an alliance is not happening, Union minister Piyush Goyal has ridiculed Jayalalithaa directly.
The Goyal video added, “It’s a part of the country where I can’t even reach out to the chief minister. I have made several attempts to talk to their leaders without success. I have access to 28 states in this country, but in the 29th state, even if I call up, when I talk to the power minister, he would hear me and he would say ‘Okay, I will talk to Amma’. In Parliament, they can’t even open their mouth, any of the members of that party [AIADMK], unless they have a script which has been sanitised or vetted in Chennai, and they read out from that. It’s actually the state where, in my 18 or 22 months, I have been able to reach out to the CM only once, and when I got a call back [from the CM], she promised but it hasn’t been signed [a project].”
Goyal’s direct attack on Amma has sent sparks flying in the AIADMK. In a statement issued on Monday, its senior leader O Paneerselvam said there was no truth in Goyal’s allegation that he was not able to meet Jayalalithaa. He alleged that BJP was getting desperate as AIADMK has spurned its alliance offer.
Although state BJP chief Tamilisai Soundararajan has not been shy of criticising Jayalalithaa, the national leadership including Pon Radhakrishnan had so far appeared to be careful about maintaining a good relationship. Radhakrishnan had attended Jayalalithaa’s swearing-in, while Soundararajan hadn’t been invited. From the BJP’s national leadership, both the PM and the FM have been pandering to the royal idiosyncracies of the TN Chief Minister. But as they say, in politics there are no permanent allies or foes.

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