CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin after inaugurating the 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' of the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at Kanniyakumari on September 8 said that the star Congress campaigner was on a journey to 'retrieve India's soul'.
Immediately after this, the DMK mouthpiece, 'Murasoli' came out with the story that Stalin had pitched for Rahul as Prime Minister candidate in 2019 just as his father Karunanidhi had voiced support for Indira Gandhi in the past.
The move by Stalin is seen by political observers as a clear indicator on his political position to distance from the BJP and the saffron combine even as there were speculations of him having developing a personal bonhomie with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
While the body language of Stalin during the inaugural ceremony of Chess Olympiad sharing the dais with Prime Minister Modi was one of close camaraderie but at the ground level, he wants to be an alternative to the saffron combine.
In Tamil Nadu politics, BJP is trying to replace the AIADMK which is facing internal squabbles and rift between two senior leaders, Edappadi K. Palaniswami and O. Panneerselvam.
Also the DMK and Stalin find themselves against the BJP's Hindu majoritarian politics which is an antithesis to the politics of DMK.
Dr. R. Padmanabhan, Director, Socio Economic Development Foundation, a think tank based out of Madurai while speaking to IANS said, "Stalin is pitching himself as a major connector to unify the national parties like the Congress and the Janata Dal (United) with the regional forces. He wants to put breaks on the BJP juggernaut and does not want the saffron party get any space in the state of Tamil Nadu. Secondly, he wants to be seen as a kingmaker in national politics rather than the king himself, a politics followed by his illustrious father, late Chief Minister M. Karunandihi."
If Nitish Kumar emerges as the opposition candidate for the Prime Minister post, Stalin will be supporting him wholeheartedly as he is positively pushing for a movement against the BJP and saffron combine at the national level.
Stalin knows that BJP is trying to replace AIADMK in Tamil Nadu and that the saffron party is trying to raise a challenge against his Dravidian politics in the state and does not want the party to grow with a repeated of its rule in 2024 general elections.
C. Rajeev, Director, Centre for Policy and Development Studies, a think tank based out of Chennai while speaking to IANS said, "Stalin knows that Tamil Nadu politics is in murky waters and that AIADMK is pushed to a corner and BJP is trying to replace it, and hence wants to stop the BJP at the national level again from coming to power. For that he will align with any force including Nitish, and his main idea is to be a connector among all the other parties, not pushing himself to the top."
With Nitish Kumar having conducted a first round of meetings in New Delhi with senior political leaders, in the second round, he is likely to reach Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and other Southern States and Stalin, given his excellent personal rapport with the Southern political leaders will act as a major facilitator for these meetings.