Chennai: Displaying widening rift between the AIADMK and the BJP, Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker .M Thambidurai on Tuesday openly mocked the ruling party at the Centre saying national parties compete only with Nota and not Dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu.
Though Thambidurai, one of the senior leaders of the AIADMK and the party's point man in New Delhi, referred to national parties, it is being interpreted as an indirect dig at the BJP since the national party secured less votes that those preferred None of the Above (Nota) in the December 21 RK Nagar bypoll.
“National parties compete only with Nota in Tamil Nadu. They don’t compete with Dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu. There competition is only Nota,” Thambidurai told reporters at the Chennai Airport, when asked to comment on his similar remarks made at a public meeting in Karur district last weekend.
Political observers said Thambidurai’s comments assume significance since he is the AIADMK’s man in New Delhi and holds a constitutional post. They also said the comments show the widening rift between the BJP and AIADMK that began with the regional party opposing the Triple Talaq Bill in Parliament. Even AIADMK leaders were taken by surprise when the party made some critical remarks against the Centre at the pre-budget and GST meetings last week.
On Tuesday, Thambidurai also quoted previous election results to show that national parties had never made any major impact in Tamil Nadu. When contacted, AIADMK deputy coordinator K. P. Munusamy refused to comment on the issue.
Though Thambidurai is a senior leader, some pointed to his habit of putting his foot in the mouth frequently. And surprisingly, there was no reaction to Thambidurai’s comments in the AIADMK with most leaders going on the silent mode.
Meanwhile, BJP sought to downplay the issue and dared Thambidurai to talk about the large-scale distribution of money in the R. K. Nagar Assembly by-poll in which the ruling party was trounced.
“The issue is ‘note’ distribution in the constituency not Nota and we have taken note of this Nota politics. His remark will not apply to the BJP given the dismal performance of the AIADMK in the by-election,” BJP state president Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan has said reacting to Thambidurai’s remark that NOTA is the “rival” for the national parties.
Pointing out that he had said that the BJP secured less votes than those polled for Nota, she sought to know how many votes the ruling party obtain in the by-poll.
“He is talking about Nota, where as we have raised the serious issue of ‘note’ distribution (in recently concluded R. K. Nagar Assembly by-election). Despite being in the ruling, the AIADMK could not win because of money distribution and lost by over 50,000 vote difference (to T. T. V. Dhinakaran) and is now talking about NOTA and the BJP,” she said.