'Tamil Nadu presents a challenge to the BJP and its politics.'
'DMK is making all efforts to resist the BJP.'
On Friday, July 29, 2022, the Supreme Court directed the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam rival factions, led by expelled leader O Panneerselvam (OPS) and Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS), to maintain the status quo with regard to the party's affairs and asked the Madras high court to adjudicate on the pleas of the OPS faction against the AIADMK general council meeting in three weeks.
On July 11, the AIADMK general council meeting saw EPS emerging as the sole leader and OPS's expulsion from the party.
"It is a crucial phase for Tamil Nadu politics because the AIADMK, which has been behaving like a prisoner of the BJP and in forced conditions for the last few years, has finally revolted," Dr Ramu Manivannan, former head and professor of political science at Madras University, below, left, tells Rediff.com's Shobha Warrier in the concluding segment of a two-part interview.
Just a few weeks ago, we saw what happened to the Shiv Sena, a party built by Bal Thackeray. Do you think a fate similar to that awaits the AIADMK?
This is what the BJP is capable of. So, we are coming back to your earlier question of the role played by the BJP in the events that happened in the AIADMK.
Right now, the (Eknath) Shinde that the BJP is looking for is already working in the name of Paneerselvam, but it may not work against the DMK.
The BJP will fail if it attempts to create a Shinde within DMK.
Tamil Nadu's BJP leader Annamalai spoke of a Shinde arising in the AIADMK....
Whatever they hope for, the BJP cannot match the political groundwork of the AIADMK. The strength of the state BJP is only the strength of the Union government.
If Edappadi succeeds in the coming weeks, it will be because the senior rank and file are with him and within the party.
If you look at those who are behind OPS, you don't see any such leaders behind him. All the senior leaders are behind EPS because they want the party to survive.
None of these leaders want the BJP to destroy the AIADMK. No politician would like to throw away his political space no matter how powerful the BJP is right now. They will definitely fight.
They also will not let Sasikala (V K Sasikala, the late J Jayalalithaa's companion) take over the party.
After the last assembly election, you had told me that Tamil Nadu, Kerala and West Bengal would pose resistance to the BJP. Do you see Tamil Nadu changing?
Absolutely, Tamil Nadu is continuing to present a challenge to the BJP and its politics.
The DMK is making all efforts to resist the BJP. You are seeing a part of the resistance in what is happening with the AIADMK.
What has happened to the dual leadership in the AIADMK created by the BJP? It has crumbled now. That itself shows the resistance to the BJP.
Were you surprised by A Raja speaking about a separate Tamil Nadu in retaliation to the BJP's one nation one culture, one language theory?
I see it as a political discourse. When you say that one nation, one language, one religion is the way forward for the country, A Raja is well within his political rights to say, if you promote this kind of politics of narrow nationalism, it will lead to a separatist movement in Tami Nadu.
It is a kind of political warning to the BJP. According to the BJP and RSS, one language, one religion is patriotic, but it is against the nation and against the Constitution.
It is against the pluralistic ethos of India, hence questionable and unpatriotic.
I would say the BJP is not having it easy in Tamil Nadu despite their claims that they have made tremendous inroads in Tamil Nadu.
They can make inroads only on somebody's back which was the AIADMK till now.
The BJP emerging in the third position is nothing to feel happy about as the Congress is completely finished in the state.
Is this a crucial phase for Tamil Nadu politics?
Of course, it is a crucial phase for Tamil Nadu politics because the AIADMK, which has been behaving like a prisoner of the BJP and in forced conditions for the last few years, has finally revolted.
And the BJP is capable of breaking any alliance whenever they want. Now, the BJP is in wait and watch mode, and they will strike only when they want. That's how they have been operating everywhere.
Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/Rediff.com