In a major setback to the Bharatiya Janata Party in Tamil Nadu ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) on Monday snapped its ties with the saffron party and passed a resolution to formally exit the National Democratic Alliance. The decision was taken at a meeting of party MPs, MLAs and district heads in Chennai.
“It has been unanimously decided that AIADMK will withdraw from the National Democratic Alliance from today, respecting the opinion and wishes of 2 crore volunteers,” the party posted on X.
The relationship between the two parties has hit a low over the past few months over the alleged defamatory remarks of BJP president K. Annamalai and other saffron leaders against Dravidian stalwart C.N. Annadurai and former chief minister J. Jayalalithaa.
The AIADMK’s decision to pull out of the alliance comes days after its leaders met BJP national president J.P. Nadda in Delhi and raised their concerns. According to reports, the south party stood firm on its demand that either Annamalai apologise for his remarks or he be replaced with another leader as the state BJP chief.
"The state leadership of the BJP has been continuously making unnecessary remarks about our former leaders, our general secretary EPS (Edappadi K. Palaniswami) and our cadres for the past year. In today's meeting, a resolution was passed unanimously that AIADMK will break all ties with BJP and NDA," AIADMK Deputy General Secretary K.P. Munusamy said.
"The state leadership of BJP has been purposely attacking the AIADMK Party, former CM and leaders Annadurai and Jayalalitha. BJP State leadership also criticised AIADMK conference which was held at Madurai on August 20. This hurts cadres of AIADMK," he added.
AIADMK Spokesperson Sasirekha called it the "happiest moment" for the party.
"Based on the members' opinion we are taking this resolution... This is the happiest moment for AIADMK. We are very happy to face the upcoming elections whether it might be Parliament or Assembly elections...," she said.
Annamalai, who is on a padyatra in Coimbatore, refused to comment, saying the BJP national leadership will respond to the development.
Last week, the AIADMK had said there was currently no alliance with the BJP and that any decision on a poll pact would be decided only during the election.
AIADMK leader D. Jayakumar said the party workers would not tolerate any affront to the late chief minister and that the party had asked the BJP leadership to restrain Annamalai.
Annamalai made the controversial remarks during a BJP protest at Valluvar Kottam in Chennai where he, by mentioning an incident from the past, allegedly said that Annadurai got scared and apologized when Muthuramalinga Devar spoke against atheism.
The BJP leader’s tirade against Annadurai had put the AIADMK in a fix with other Dravidian parties, led by the ruling DMK, questioning its alliance with the saffron front.
On Sunday, DMK president and Chief Minister M.K. Stalin alleged both AIADMK and BJP were pretending to be fighting with each other but were on good terms.