CHENNAI: BJP leader and Union minister Prakash Javadekar on Friday declined to categorically name the chief ministerial candidate of the AIADMK-BJP alliance in Tamil Nadu though the ruling party has already announced that K Palaniswami would be its CM face for the 2021 Assembly polls.
To several questions from reporters here on BJP’s ally AIADMK naming Palaniswami as the chief ministerial candidate and whether his party endorsed it and who is the CM nominee of the NDA alliance, led in the state by the ruling party, he skipped all of them.
‘Good question and good answer,’ he said at a press conference and pointed to the presence of AIADMK’s Rajya Sabha MP, A Navaneethakrishnan in the gathering.
When scribes told him that he did not directly answer questions on AIADMK-BJP ties, those related to the chief minister candidate, he chuckled and said ‘that is the answer.’
On a perception that it was the BJP which needed the AIADMK more, he said in coalition politics anywhere, one party complemented the other and parties depended on each other.
To a question on AIADMK making it clear that BJP was its ally and if he would assert that the ruling party in Tamil Nadu continued to be his party’s partner (since the saffron party’s leadership here has been saying that the matter would be decided by the high command), he said Tamil Nadu leadership ‘is correct’ on the matter.
In the same breath, Javadekar again referred to AIADMK leader Navaneethakrishnan’s presence and said it is ‘important.’
The Minister’s remark is seen as an indication that ties between the BJP and AIADMK are intact as of now.
BJP, a junior partner in the AIADMK-led alliance in Tamil Nadu, showing reluctance in immediately endorsing the candidature of chief minister K Palaniswami as the CM nominee of the entire coalition has led to speculations in social media, including accusations of ‘arm twisting’ by the saffron party.
The AIADMK has already made it clear that incumbent Palaniswami would be its CM face for the upcoming 2021 Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu.
Polls are due during April-May next year.
Javadekar declining to make a categorical statement comes against the backdrop of BJP leadership in Tamil Nadu maintaining that the CM pick for the alliance would be ‘decided’ by its top leadership.
Asked about ‘talk’ that Rajinikanth was the ‘B’ team of the BJP, the Minister said, “I will not go into diversions.’
On why his party leaders were showering encomiums on late AIADMK founder M G Ramachandran only recently, the Minister said such a view was not correct.
Tamil Nadu icons like MGR were always being remembered by the BJP on their birth and death anniversaries and “this time you have noticed,” he said.