Chennai, Jan 28: With the 2024 Lok Sabha elections imminent and political parties already polishing their weapons, the BJP seems to be making a surprise move in Tamil Nadu.
The party which received only 3.66 per cent of the total votes polled in the 2019 general elections and only 2.56 per cent in the 2021 Assembly elections, is trying to cozy up to Tamil superstar Vijay who, till now, has been dead set against the saffron party.
Vijay, during his latest interaction with the media made a statement which made political pundits sit up and take notice. The superstar repeated a dialogue from his hugely successful film, ‘Bigel’ released a few years ago in which he plays the role of a football coach.
Talking to the media, he said, “Cup Mukkiyama Bigilu (the cup is of prime importance)” which led to speculation on social media that Vijay would join the political bandwagon sooner than expected.
However, Vijay and his fan association did not respond to the comments on social media.
Sources close to Vijay told IANS that the superstar was indeed contemplating entry into Tamil Nadu politics.
Vijay’s fan association, All India Thalapathy Vijay Makkal Iyyakam (AITVMI) had contested in the local body polls of October 2021 after the 2021 Assembly elections and managed to win 115 of the 169 seats it contested, while two other political parties Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK) of actor, director Seeman and actor Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) drew a blank.
AITVMI even won a panchayat president’s post, with Savithri of the organization, winning the Vannur union seat in Villupuram district of the state.
Sources close to Vijay however told IANS that the actor has not yet made up his mind on forming an alliance with the BJP and his idea is to announce his political party before the 2026 Assembly elections of Tamil Nadu.
Political analyst and Director, Centre for Policy and Development Studies, C Rajeev told IANS, “Vijay has the top fan base in Tamil Nadu, just a little below Rajinikanth and in the days to come with his political party, he will emerge stronger. The BJP is likely to align itself with Vijay and this would be a formidable combination for the BJP to win in Tamil Nadu.”
He added that even though the BJP and Vijay were not on good terms, with both coming out against each other frequently, the possibility of an alliance was on the cards.
Sources in the AITVMI leadership told IANS that the party would not be contesting the 2024 general elections but it would do groundwork for the same.
The sources said that while there won't be a direct alliance with the BJP in Tamil Nadu, the party’s national leadership has already sent feelers to Vijay for a clandestine arrangement in certain constituencies.
Vijay has a major fan base across the state and even though the state unit of the BJP is trying hard to make its presence felt, it would be difficult for the saffron party to win any seats on its own in the 2024 general elections from Tamil Nadu.
If Vijay's fan base supports the BJP the party could get commendable results in many of the seats in the state. With the BJP trying hard to make a mark in the state’s politics, it is trying to piggyback ride on Vijay‘s popularity.
A senior functionary of Tamil Nadu BJP while speaking on condition of anonymity told IANS that discussions were on between the actor and the party. He also said that the BJP national leadership was in touch through the good offices of some mediators.
Vijay, according to information, is keen to win the 2026 Assembly elections and become the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, which the BJP is gleefully willing to support.
The general perspective of a failing INDIA coalition across the country and the possibility of the Narendra Modi-led BJP coming back to power for a third time is considered as one reason why many political parties are trying to reach out to the saffron party and Vijay is no exception.
It may be noted that the politics of Tamil Nadu is intertwined with the tinsel world and all senior Dravidian leaders were directly linked with the Tamil movie world. The former Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu, MG Ramachandran (MGR), Kalaignar Karunanidhi and Dr J Jayalalithaa were from the Tamil cinema industry. While MGR and Jayalalithaa were successful actors, Karunanidhi was a hugely successful script writer.
Interestingly the present Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, MK Stalin, has also acted in three movies and in a popular television serial. His son and the state‘s Sport Development and Youth Welfare Minister, Udhayanidhi Stalin, was also a popular movie star of Tamil Nadu.
Vijay’s alliance in Tamil Nadu with the BJP (if it materialises) would script an alternative politics in the state, which the BJP has been long yearning for.