TN: DMK, BJP Tussle Over Raids, AIADMK Face Frequent Embarrassments From its Ally
With the General elections under a year away, a beeline of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, including Union ministers Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh, are visiting Tamil Nadu. The party has set the alarm bells ringing, with a direct confrontation with the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).
The DMK, with a very strong anti-BJP stand on several national issues, faced its first test since assuming power in 2021 in the form of an Enforcement DIrectorate raid on the places related to minister V Senthil Balaji and his arrest during the early hours of June 14.
The chief minister and president of the DMK, MK Stalin, on June 15, in a strongly worded video message, 'warned' the BJP on its blatant use of the central agencies on opposition leaders. Though the predominant leadership issue is resolved in the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), the principal opposition party, is struggling for space in the direct confrontation between the DMK and BJP.
The DMK government has arrested several BJP activists on complaints of spreading fake news and misleading information on different social media platforms. The BJP, though, alleges the government of taking retaliatory measures.
'UNITED AGAINST MISUSE OF CENTRAL AGENCIES'
The opposition parties across the country have been alleging the BJP-led Union government of misusing central agencies, including the ED and Income tax (IT) department, for silencing the opposition parties.
The DMK, after assuming power, has been vociferously voicing its opposition and passed resolutions against the different central legislations, including the three farm laws and Citizenship Amendment Act.
With the general elections nearing, the BJP has set an eye on Tamil Nadu, which sends 39 representatives to the Lok Sabha. The Secular Progressive Alliance (SPA) unitedly condemned the raids and held a massive protest in Coimbatore against the minister's arrest.
In his video message, Stalin listed the opposition leaders from other states who had faced the ire of central agencies.
"Unable to face us electorally, the BJP is resorting to backdoor intimidation. With the ED conducting a raid in the minister's office in the secretariat, the political agenda behind it is clear," he said in the message.
Stalin also accused the BJP government of undermining federal principles. After a few hours of the arrest, the state government withdrew its general consent for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
BJP ACTIVISTS BEHIND THE BARS
In recent weeks, the Tamil Nadu police department has arrested several state and local-level BJP leaders on complaints of duping money from job aspirants, providing fake appointment letters in the police department and spreading fake news.
While one local-level activist from Tenkasi district was arrested for defrauding a job aspirant of Rs 40 lakh and providing an appointment letter in the non-existent intelligence wing in the CB-CID, a state secretary SG Suryah was detained for spreading fake news about the inaction of a CPI(M) (Communist Party of India (Marxist)) MP on the death of a conservancy worker.
An Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activist from Coimbatore was arrested for promoting religious enmity, and another woman activist was detained for defamatory comments on late DMK leaders and Periyar EV Ramasamy.
Interestingly, the BJP state president Annamalai pointed to the arrest of several BJP activists, though for all wrong reasons, by the police as proof of the party's growth.
WILL THE NDA ALLIANCE SURVIVE?
The state BJP president K Annamalai has been making tall claims about the party making huge gains in the 2024 General elections. In a recent tweet on the party's official handle, he claimed that 'the party will be winning all 39 seats and DMK will draw a blank.'
Earlier during his visit, Shah claimed that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would win more than 25 seats in the election. The state and central leadership of the BJP are on different sides on issues relating to applying with the Dravidian parties and the number of seats to be contested.
Though the national leadership has claimed the NDA to be intact, statements and comments from state leaders have dented the confidence among the two parties.
A statement by the BJP state president on former chief minister J Jayalalitha regarding corruption issues led to a war of words between the two parties. Former minister D Jaya Kumar and senior AIADMK leader took a dig at the BJP leader.
With the BJP desperately trying to project itself as the alternative to the ruling DMK and Dravidian parties in general, the relationship with the AIADMK has always been oscillating.
The DMK and allies are strongly bonded with the anti-BJP plank and plan to face the General elections. The BJP, with huge dreams of making an impact in the state, is not only undecided but also engaging in frequent tussles with the AIADMK.
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