When Modi became ‘daddy’
The political equation between the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems to have changed 180-degrees since AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa's death. In March 2016, Union Minister Piyush Goyal came down heavily on the AIADMK leadership (read Jayalalithaa), saying Tamil Nadu was "a state within a state". Fast forward to 2019, and Goyal can be heard waxing eloquent about Jayalalithaa's pro-poor initiatives and calling her a "true nationalist". Then there is State Minister for Milk and Dairy Development K T Rajenthra Bhalaji, who has just labelled Prime Minister Narendra Modi the "daddy" of Tamil Nadu. When reminded that Amma — as Jayalalithaa was popularly called — never agreed to an alliance with Modi, Bhalaji retorted, “When Amma is not there Modi is our daddy; India's daddy.”Turmoil in Congress state units
All is not well with the Congress party’s state units. Many are upset in Karnataka that the party is willing to surrender eight to nine Lok Sabha seats to the Janata Dal (Secular), and some have even threatened to join the Bharatiya Janata Party, and be fielded against Congress candidates, including senior party leader Mallikarjun Kharge. Similarly, Maharashtra Congress legislative party leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil is unhappy that the party might surrender the Shirdhi Lok Sabha seat to the Left parties. In Haryana, former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has threatened to float a new party if he continues to be ignored by the party's top leadership.
Will Sonia intervene?
The Congress top leadership is keen to have an alliance with the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party in Uttar Pradesh. Emissaries have been sent but the leadership of the two parties has interpreted the despatch of junior leaders to mediate as a sign that the Congress is not serious. Senior Opposition leaders, including N Chandrababu Naidu, Sharad Pawar and others, are hopeful that United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi (pictured) will — sooner rather than later — intervene to finalise alliances not just in Uttar Pradesh but also in Delhi with the Aam Aadmi Party since several party leaders, including Delhi unit chief Sheila Dikshit, are unwilling to listen to Congress President Rahul Gandhi.