Tamil Nadu BJP President K. Annamalai on Friday, in a closed door party meeting, said that he was against the alliance with the AIADMK in the state. He offered to quit if the leadership decides to go for an alliance with the AIADMK. Annamalai is also believed to have said that the BJP should go it alone in the 2024 general elections and emerge as an alternative to the Dravidian parties in the state.
Annamalai’s statement in the internal party meeting comes in the backdrop of the ongoing tension between the AIADMK and the BJP in the recent days. A senior leader present during the party office-bearers meeting said that Annamalai’s message was that the BJP can oppose corruption and nepotism at all levels only if it stands against the Dravidian parties. “We should build the party from the ground. We should take extraordinary pain and build the party and stand on our own. I will brief our prime minister Narendra Modi and other leaders,” Annamalai is believed to have told at the meeting.
When Annamalai said that the party should go it alone in the election, there was strong opposition in the meeting hall. While his supporters raised voices in favour of Annamalai, senior leaders like Narayanan Tirupathi, coimbatore South MLA Vanathi Srinivasan have opposed it.
Meanwhile another group remained silent in the meeting, neither opposing nor supporting Annamalai. But this office bearers meeting, sources say, exposed the opposition for Annamalai within his own party. Incidentally Annamalai’s quick rise in the party has also angered a few seniors. While a few of them have already moved out to other states as either governors or members of central boards, the other seniors in the party feel that Annamalai’s decisions could only hurt the future of the party. “We have just 3 percent votes. With this we can’t win an election. It is crucial that we continue our alliance with the AIADMK,” senior leader told THE WEEK.
But sources close to Annamalai say that his assertion was only to ensure that the ally AIADMK is put in its place. He recalled how Annamalai reinstated the BJP cadre who protested against EPS. A few days before Dilip Rodi, a youth wing functionary who burnt the photos of Edappadi Palanisami was reinstated into the party.
Few other leaders said that Annamalai had already communicated to the top leadership about his idea of going solo. “The top leadership is for the alliance. When our J.P. Nadda was here he said the alliance will continue. In this backdrop I am sure that Annamalai would have come out with such a statement only with the concurrence of the Delhi high command,” tells a senior leader on conditions of anonymity.
It was only a week before 13 BJP functionaries defected to the AIADMK under the leadership of Edappadi K Palanisami. Following this there were factions in the AIADMK-BJP alliance. But AIADMK seniors and BJP leader J.P. Nadda later clarified saying that “the alliance will continue.”