After backing Bill in Lok Sabha, party staged walkout opposing it in Rajya Sabha
The contradictory stands taken by the AIADMK on the triple talaq Bill in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, juxtaposed with the ‘absence’ of senior BJP leaders in the election campaign for the Vellore Lok Sabha poll, has given rise to speculation that it is a deliberate election strategy of the ruling party in the State.
The AIADMK, which voted in favour of the Bill in the Lok Sabha last week, did a U-turn on Tuesday by expressing an opinion against the legislation in the Rajya Sabha and staging a walkout in protest. Besides, not a single senior leader of the State unit of the BJP was seen when Chief Minister and AIADMK co-coordinator Edappadi K. Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister and party coordinator O. Panneerselvam campaigned for their nominee, A.C. Shanmugam of the New Justice Party, during the past week.
The Vellore constituency is said to have around 2.5 lakh Muslim and 1.6 lakh Christian voters. Also, Scheduled Castes account for around 22% of the 14.32-lakh electors. At least a third of Christians may be SCs. The chances of victory depend on the extent to which Mr. Shanmugam is able to woo them to his side, a senior leader of the AIADMK says.
However, the party’s spokesperson, Kovai Sathyan, denies that there is any electoral consideration behind the party’s position on the legislation and disputes the contention regarding the BJP’s absence during the campaign. Mr. Sathyan says the party has always supported the concept of women’s empowerment, an aspect that is present in the Bill. At the same time, it does not favour the provision of criminal offence for a civil matter, he says.
He and BJP spokesperson Thirupathy Narayanan assert that workers of the national party are indeed taking part in the campaign. Besides, Mr. Narayanan says that “if required, our leaders will also participate in the campaign”.