The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), the BJP’s biggest ally in southern India, has quit the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at a time the ruling party at the Centre has been trying to enlarge its presence in the region and shed the tag of being a “Hindi heartland party”.
The BJP’s perceived attempts to swallow the political space of its partners after earning a toehold, a holier-than-thou attempt to cast itself as morally superior, and a latent partiality to the Brahminical order that reared its head during the Sanatan Dharma controversy are being seen as the reasons behind the rupture in the run-up to the general election.
A recent statement by Union home minister Amit Shah, setting a target of winning at least 25 of the 39 seats in the state in 2024, had set alarm bells ringing in the AIADMK. The statement was interpreted as a signal that the BJP was looking to contest more seats, reducing the AIADMK to a junior partner in the alliance. The AIADMK had led the NDA in Tamil Nadu in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as well as the 2021 Assembly elections.
The heartburn in the AIADMK caused by Shah’s target revived memories of Jayalalithaa taking on the BJP and its mascot Narendra Modi in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections with the one-liner: “This lady is better than Modi.”