Will Jaya be NDA’s new partner?
The BJP-led NDA may get strengthened at the Centre with the possibility of Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK joining the ru ling alliance to support the government from outside While the move is only at a preliminary stage, top BJP sources are not ruling out the chances of a tie-up with the southern party which has 39 MPs in Lok Sabha and 12 members in Rajya Sabha and can help with passage of legislations like the GST bill.
Jayalalithaa is expected to be in Delhi and meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this month. This would be her first visit to the Capital after her victory in the assembly polls last month, and should lead to clarity on the type of equation she would like to have with the BJP-led alliance.
What is already clear is that she will not join the Modi government. “ AIADMK will not be part of the central regime,“ a senior BJP source said.
AIADMK’s joining the NDA will only formalise an arrangement where it has scrupulously stayed away from joining forces with Congress and Left. One of the occupants of the middle ground that separates the NDA from Congress and Left, it has often helped the government, although indirectly and by avoiding taking positions. Modi, who was invited by Jayalalithaa for her swearingin five years ago, at a time even when BJP’s full-scale allies such as Nitish Kumar were not comfortable embracing him in public, had signalled his posture towards the AIADMK boss by appointing her loyalist M Thambidurai deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha in defiance of Congress’ claim.
While Jayalalithaa, known for zealously guarding her political space, kept a distance from BJP , political circles, both here and in Chennai, said there were a number of factors which could impel her to get AIADMK move away from the position of professed neutrality to an open tie-up with BJP .
Observers said Jayalalitha would need money to fulfil promises which she made to beat DMK in a close contest, and a friendly regime at the Centre would be a help.
While an alliance with AIADMK on the “development plank“ will be very much in accord with the BJP’s desire to pass GST bill early and projecting its political domination by expanding NDA.