BJP, AIADMK again coming together


New Delhi : Jayalalitha’s AIADMK, part of the recently launched “third front”, is heading for a return to the main opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

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The decision on AIADMK rejoining the NDA is likely to be announced on Sep 20 when Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani “may drop in” at Jayalalitha’s residence in Chennai “to say hello and share a cup of coffee”, said a BJP senior leader working on reviving the alliance that died eight years ago.

Advani is going to Chennai for the BJP state committee meet in Thirunanvelli Sep 18-19. Reports in Tamil media indicated the Jayalalitha-Advani meeting could take place Sep 19, but sources in the BJP headquarters here hinted at a breakfast meeting on Sep 20.

Ahead of the meet, the BJP’s Tamil Nadu in-charge Ravi Shankar Prasad has already done a lot of groundwork. He met Jayalalitha discreetly at her Poes Garden residence Sep 7. In that meet, she seemed ready to abandon the United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA).

The alliance was floated barely two months ago by Jayalalitha herself along with the Samajwadi Party, the Telugu Desam Party and other regional outfits as a front equidistant from both the Congress and the BJP.

Speaking on record, Prasad denied that the BJP-AIADMK deal was finalized. He, however, said: “The political atmosphere is conducive to a political tie-up.”

AIADMK had joined the government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee that fell in 13 months when Jayalalitha withdrew her support in April 1999.

The BJP had then declared that it would never again seek an alliance with AIADMK.

However, a BJP leader described the earlier irritants between the party and Jayalalithaa as “a thing of the past”.