Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Saturday announced that the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party will continue, ANI reported. Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu are scheduled to take place in 2021.
His announcement came amid Union Home Minister and senior BJP leader Amit Shah’s visit to Chennai. He is expected to discuss the strategy for the polls with party leaders during the two-day trip, according to NDTV.
Shah will also get inputs from the BJP’s Tamil Nadu unit, The Hindu reported. BJP’s state unit President L Murugan told the newspaper that Shah’s interaction with leaders will focus on the party’s work over the past few months. “His meeting will give a fillip to the cadres in Tamil Nadu,” Murugan said.
Ahead of Shah’s visit, the allies had held a key consultative meeting on Friday, the Hindustan Times reported. An unidentified party leader told the newspaper that the BJP had expressed unwillingness to accept Chief Minister E Palaniswami as the candidate for the top post in 2021.
There have been hints of tension between the BJP and its ally in the state. Earlier this month, the police in Tamil Nadu had arrested BJP’s state unit chief L Murugan as he started the “Vetri Val Yatra”, despite the government denying permission to conduct the roadshow amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The religious roadshow is part of the BJP’s campaign ahead of the Assembly elections in the state next year. The yatra, which involves worshipping Tamil deity Murugan, is an attempt to consolidate Hindu votes ahead of the polls.
The yatra has been a bone of contention between BJP and the AIADMK, since a music video promoting it showed the saffron party President Murugan as the future leader of the state.
Another point of contention between the allies arose as the BJP used AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran’s photo alongside Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an election campaign video.