The ties between Tamil Nadu’s ruling AIADMK and the BJP seem to have touched a new low with party leaders resorting to exchanging distasteful comments on Twitter over the state government’s ban on public celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi amid spike in COVID-19 cases.
Tamil Nadu is the second worst-hit state by the coronavirus pandemic in India, followed by Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
Earlier this week, taking a dig at the Edappadi Palaniswami-led government, BJP National Secretary H Raja had tweeted that the neighbouring BJP-led Karnataka government was a “potent government” for allowing public celebration of Vinayagar Chathurthi.
Many interpreted the comment as Mr Raja leader tacitly saying Tamil Nadu government is impotent, resulting in mudslinging by leaders of the two parties that had fought the 2019 general elections together.
“The AIADMK is a potent party and the AIADMK government is a potent government. Don’t rub us the wrong way,” senior Minister D Jayakumar tweeted in response.
He took a dig at Mr Raja for not only retracting his controversial social media comments on the judiciary, but also blaming it his Twitter administrator and later apologising to the Madras High Court.
Mr Jayakumar also took a swipe at BJP’s state social media convenor CTR Nirmal Kumar, who had said the AIADMK “hid behind a woman for 30 years” – an apparent reference to the party’s former chief J Jayalalithaa, a four-term Chief Minister.
With just nine months to go before Tamil Nadu state assembly elections, many say there’s a marked shift in the AIADMK’s approach towards its state ally even though the party has largely toed the BJP’s line over the last four years.
Indications are that the AIADMK wants to fight the 2021 polls alone.
Earlier, Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami had said tying a saffron cloth to an MGR statue was “dishonouring” him. A case was also registered against actor and BJP leader, S Ve Shekar, for his comments that attributed religion to the national tricolour.
Mr Palaniswami also had bluntly rejected changes under the new National Education Policy, calling them a “Hindi imposition”.