Tug of war among NDA allies: All is not well between BJP and AIADMK in Tamil Nadu


Prime Minister Narendra Modi with AIADMK General Secretary Edappadi K. Palaniswami at a National Democratic Alliance meeting in New Delhi (ANI)

Slamming Annamalai for his criticism of Dravidian stalwart C N Annadurai, a senior leader said AIADMK party workers will not tolerate any affront to the late chief minister

Our Bureau
Chennai/New Delhi

In a shocking move, the AIADMK on Monday announced that it was not in alliance with the BJP in Tamil Nadu and any decision on tie-up will be taken during elections.

Training its guns on the Tamil Nadu BJP president Annamalai, the AIADMK accused him of working against an alliance between the two parties even though the cadres of the saffron party were in favour of them joining hands.

AIADMK is a part of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and had attended the grand coalition meeting convened in the national capital in July.

“Annamalai doesn’t want an alliance. He always criticises our leaders. He is unfit to be BJP state president,” Senior AIADMK leader D Jayakumar said.

“We can’t accept continuous criticism on our leaders. Annamalai already criticised our leader Jayalalithaa. At that time, we passed a resolution against Annamalai. He should have stopped this. He is criticising Anna, Periyar and the General Secretary. No cadre would accept this,” he added.

Slamming Annamalai for his criticism of Dravidian stalwart C N Annadurai, the senior leader said AIADMK party workers will not tolerate any affront to the late chief minister.

DMK founder Annadurai (1909-1969) is popularly known as Anna (elder brother).

The AIADMK leader claimed that the decision will not have any impact on the party’s poll prospects in the state and it was confident about victory. “The BJP can’t set foot here. Your vote bank is known. You are known because of us,” Jayakumar said.

On September 11, leading a demonstration against Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments minister P K Sekar Babu for his participation in the ‘Sanatana Dharma’ eradication conference here, Annamalai had made a comment on Annadurai.

The BJP leader said Anna had in the 1950s made a critical remark in Madurai against the Hindu faith at an event, and that it was staunchly opposed by freedom fighter Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar.

Annamalai, meanwhile, defended his statement and insisted that he did not speak ill of Anna and had only mentioned an event from the pages of history and the manner in which Muthuramalinga Thevar had defended Sanatana Dharma.

To substantiate his claim, the BJP leader said, he had copies of news reports that appeared in the month of June in 1956 in a top national English daily.

“Anyone may read. It was a 10-day Tamil Sangam event.”

Annamalai, the young IPS officer-turned politician, has undertaken a padyatra to take BJP’s message to the masses in Tamil Nadu, where the saffron party still does not have a proper foothold. The padytra, which was flagged off by the Union home minister Amit Shah on July 28 at Rameswaram, has seen good public participation.

But Jayakumar slammed Annamalai for criticizing leaders of his party including former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.  “With this decision (of not having an alliance with BJP), there won’t be any impact on us. We are confident of our victory. To date, we are the biggest Party in Tamil Nadu. In Tamil Nadu AIADMK leads the alliance and we will attain victory in the election. As of today, the BJP is not there in our alliance. We warned (the BJP) many times but they didn’t change their attitude. So no more alliance,” he added.

On September 16, AIADMK senior leader C V Shanmugham slammed Annamalai for his recent remarks on Annadurai during a BJP protest in Chennai.

“Annamalai doesn’t have any competence to speak about Peraringar Anna. In the name of ‘Padha Yathra’ Annamalai is doing ‘Vasul Yathra’ (Money collection Yatra)” said Shanmugham.

Reacting to this Annamalai said, ” Thieves will get afraid when they see a policeman”.

This is not the first time bitterness erupts in the AIADMK – BJP ties.

In the past when Annamalai made remarks on former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, AIADMK passed a resolution against him.

Similarly, Annamalai also took a dig at AIADMK general secretary Edappadi Palaniswami when a few functionaries from BJP joined AIADMK, however, the latter did not react saying they would only speak with the central leadership of the BJP.

The ties between BJP and AIADMK in the state also suffered after AIADMK leaders said that their alliance with the BJP caused losing votes of members of the minority communities in the Erode East by-election which the party lost.

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