‘Will never align with BJP’: Palaniswami rules out AIADMK’s return to NDA

BJP had sent emissaries to convince the AIADMK leader

AIADMK general secretary Edappadi K. Palaniswami  | PTI AIADMK general secretary Edappadi K. Palaniswami | PTI

AIADMK general secretary Edappadi K. Palaniswami has reiterated that his party has broken ties with the BJP and will not return to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) even during the 2026 state assembly elections. 

“We have said it several times. I am clarifying. We will never align with the BJP at any point of time. This is not just my wish. It is the wish of the party cadres,” Palaniswami said on Thursday.

According to highly placed sources, the BJP had sent emissaries to convince the AIADMK leader to come back into the NDA. Incidentally, Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s comments that the BJP has still its “doors open” for alliance partners in Tamil Nadu was an open invitation to the AIADMK. 

Shah’s comments had led to speculation that the AIADMK would return to the NDA. According to sources, the BJP had sent several feelers to the AIADMK and even offered few promises in the post-poll scenario. Former shipping minister and Tamil Maanila Congress leader G.K. Vasan, who is part of the NDA, brought several messages from the BJP to the AIADMK. 

Apparently, the senior BJP leaders in Tamil Nadu, including its state unit president K. Annamalai, have already fallen out with the AIADMK. Annamalai’s consistent comments against the Dravidian legends including M.G. Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa and the AIADMK’s ideology was the major reason for the latter walking out of the NDA. 

The BJP high command even came down to inform the AIADMK that Annamalai will be kept out of the alliance talks and it can directly talk with the leadership in Delhi. But Palaniswami, sources say, rejected all the offers. The AIADMK office bearers and cadres have been of the opinion that the party lost the 2019 and 2021 elections only because it aligned with the BJP. Also, the AIADMK is of the opinion that it lost its minority vote bank in the state after it joined hands with the BJP.

But the AIADMK is still in touch with other NDA constituents—Dr S Ramadoss’s PMK and late Vijayakanth’s DMDK. It is also in touch with Dr Krishnasamy’s Puthiya Thamilagam. However, the BJP too is in talks with the smaller parties to retain them in the NDA. The BJP has also reached out to T.T.V. Dhinakaran’s Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) and OPS faction of the AIADMK. 

The AIADMK, after closing its doors for the BJP, had tried its best to get into the INDIA bloc, through several emissaries. EPS had sent feelers to the Congress high command through its former strategist Sunil Kanugolu. Palaniswami, a few weeks before, even said that the political parties in the DMK alliance will soon join the AIADMK alliance. But the Congress did not respond to any of the feelers, forcing EPS to say “AIADMK will not align with any of the national parties in this election”.

With AIADMK walking out the NDA, the BJP is left in the lurch in Tamil Nadu. The saffron party, which has close to five per cent votes, may not be able to win even a single Lok Sabha seat in the state without alliance partners. If the PMK, DMDK and Puthiya Thamilagam remain in the NDA, the BJP will be able to finish second in a few constituencies in North and West Tamil Nadu. In fact, this was the major reason for BJP’s prominent faces like Annamalai and L. Murugan stepping back from direct contest in the Lok Sabha polls. Murugan was recently nominated to Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra while Annamalai said that he has a lot more work to do than contesting an election. 


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