The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said on Monday that its ally AIADMK is the 'major' partner in Tamil Nadu, hence the regional party would decide its Chief Ministerial candidate for the Assembly elections, due during April-May 2021.
Despite insisting for several months that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) leader would announce the CM candidate, the Saffron party appears to have cowed down before its alliance partner in the state.
"They are the major partners. In Tamil Nadu AIADMK, is the major partner. They will decide who their next Chief Ministerial candidate is. They will decide," said BJP national general secretary and in-charge of Tamil Nadu CT Ravi.
Even as the BJP maintained that the CM candidate would be from the largest constituent (AIADMK), it had said a formal announcement regarding this will be made by the NDA Coordination Committee.
BJP Tamil Nadu unit chief L Murugan had all along said that a CM candidate would be announced by the saffron party's top leadership. Moreover, he did not explicitly endorse the candidature of incumbent CM and AIADMK nominee, Edapaddi Palaniswami.
During the intervening period, the AIADMK twice made it clear that Palaniswami was the CM candidate. The party has also said its partners have to accept its choice of CM candidate in order to remain a part of the alliance led by it in Tamil Nadu.
Senior AIADMK party leader KP Munusamy had also repeatedly said that national parties had no sway in state politics. In a dig at its alliance partner BJP, he said that the contest was between the regional parties, and the national parties acted as the audience in the assembly elections.
“As far as Tamil Nadu is concerned, national parties do not matter because they are yet to take root here. They ride piggyback on either the AIADMK or the DMK. So, the forthcoming elections too, are a direct contest between the AIADMK and DMK," KP Munusamy said.
"The national parties are just an audience because that is what they can do here. When both Dravidian parties are engaged in the electoral battle, the national parties just keep themselves away as an audience to avoid any wounds to themselves. So, our only enemy is the DMK,” he added.