by Harish Gupta, National Editor, Lokmat Group
A Lokmat Exclusive report
AIADMK to support BJP’s presidential candidate
Modi gets shot in the arm; Dy Speaker Thambidurai key negotiator
New Delhi, April 24
The BJP is set to get a shot in its arm as the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu has signaled its support to NDA’s presidential nominee.
Irrespective of infighting within the two AIADMK camps and current negotiations to resolve the crisis, the ruling dispensation has communicated to the BJP that it will support its candidate in the Presidential polls to be held in July this year.
The AIADMK’s signal of support has given the BJP big comfort as the ruling NDA is still short of 25000 popular votes to get its own candidate elected. Though Opposition parties are fragmented and still working out modalities to come together to filed a common candidate. But they have to get the support of several regional ruling parties in states including AIADMK, TRS, BJD, TMC etc. Amongst these non-BJP parties, the AIADM is crucial as it has 135 MLAs and 50 MPs in parliament constituting almost 60,000 popular votes. The electorate for presidential polls comprises of 11 lakh plus votes and the NDA has 5.25 lakh votes. Therefore, the complete support for the NDA will give a big boost to the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.
It transpires that Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha M Thambidurai had a meeting with the Prime Minister and the BJP Amit Shah as well. Unconfirmed report suggested that he conveyed to the BJP leaders that the ruling AIADMK KPS camp having the support of 123 MLAs and 50 MPs in Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha will support the NDA’s presidential candidate. The AIADMK (OPS) having 12 MLAs is already backing the BJP. The AIADMK is rather keen to formally join the NDA, these sources say. After the death of Jayalalitha, there is no leader worth a salt in the AIADMK who has national ambitions. The OPS camp is already close to the Centre and the ruling KPS camp wants a patch up to get the two leaves symbol de-frozen.
However, the BJP leadership is in no hurry to admit the AIADMK despite pressure from M Thambidurai. The AIADMK MPs have virtually no role despite having the biggest contingent in parliament. The AIADMK leaders are keen to join the Modi government and share power. It is learnt that formal announcement by the AIADMK will be made sometime next month once formula is worked out.