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TN BJP Chief Annamalai’s comments on Amma trigger ally trouble; an angry AIADMK threatens to break alliance

Lakshmana Venkat Kuchi Union Home Minister Amit Shah in a pep talk to his party cadres tried to infuse them with motivation when he set them a stiff target of 25 seats for the NDA alliance from Tamil Nadu, but ahead of the Lok Sabha general elections, utterances from Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai […]

Edited By : Lakshmana | Jun 13, 2023 19:00 IST
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Lakshmana Venkat Kuchi

Union Home Minister Amit Shah in a pep talk to his party cadres tried to infuse them with motivation when he set them a stiff target of 25 seats for the NDA alliance from Tamil Nadu, but ahead of the Lok Sabha general elections, utterances from Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai are threatening to a break up with ally AIADMK.

In fact, a former minister and senior AIADMK leader D Jayakumar demanded action against the BJP TN Unit chief from the party’s national leadership and said that AIAMDK would now not be satisfied with an explanation or an apology from Annamalai.

“Otherwise, the AIADMK will be forced to rethink about continuing the alliance,” Jayakumar said.

The latest row between the two alliance partners, coming shortly after the appeal of Amit Shah to the Tamil voters to give 25 seats to the NDA in the general elections, spells trouble for the BJP which is trying to make up for expected losses in North India like Bihar and Maharashtra where the altered ground reality does not suit the party anymore.

Trouble for the alliance has come from an interview Annamalai gave to a prestigious national newspaper in which he lashed out against corrupt previous governments, and spoke about corruption being at its highest during 1991-1996, Jayalalithaa’s first tenure as the Chief Minister.

Annamalai was promising to come out with a sequel to DMK Files and said that the content could contain corruption scandals of others parties as well.

But what he elaborated later  in the interview – referring to Jayalalithaa period without naming her – angered BJP’s strongest and biggest ally in the state where success in politics and elections depends on the party’s alliances a party stitches up.

In Tamil Nadu, always it is that Dravidian party wins the day which stitches up the most winnable coalition of political forces, and in this the DMK has at present the most stable coalition going with Congress as its key partner.

The AIADMK, after the demise of J Jayalalaithaa, has become weaker with few leaders breaking out and or falling out with the now official party headed by former CM Edapaddi Palaniswamy.

But even a weaker AIADMK is still the strongest party in the state that can take on the ruling DMK, which has swept all elections since winning the 2019 general elections and had bagged all but one of the 39 seats in Lok Sabha from Tamil Nadu. It has even swept local municipal body polls held a few months ago.

Amid this scenario, the utterances of TN BJP Chief Annamalai have annoyed the AIADMK, and added to the friction between the two alliance partners, which at one stage had threatened to break up the alliance. At one stage the TN BJP leader had wanted the party to go it alone and relations with the ally were at their worst when the central BJP leadership stepped in and brokered peace.

But Annamalai’s stance on corruption and his comment against Jayalalithaa, though without taking her name, has triggered off a fresh slanging match between the allies. Annamalai had said in his interview that some leaders were arrested and jailed for corruption, which is factual but is it tactical is what AIADMK and some political analysts question.

Political analyst Sumanth C Raman said that the Annamalai statement on Jayalalithaa was most uncalled for. In a tweet, he said, “Speaking ill of a dead leader who is revered by your alliance partner and a sizeable section of the public in Tamil Nadu is not on.”

If not anything, statement of Annamalai on Jayalalithaa, without naming her, triggered a virulent attack on the BJP state chief from senior AIADMK leader and former minister, D Jayakumar, who blasted the BJP leader and questioned him where the BJP would be without AIADMK. Even the four assembly seats won by the BJP in the 2021 assembly elections were courtesy the AIADMK, Jayakumar said.

Asserting that Annamalai was not fit to be the BJP president, the AIADMK leader said he was violating the alliance dharma. Union Home Minister Amit Shah and party president JP Nadda must clarify or the party would be compelled to review its relations with the ally, Jayakumar warned.

First published on: Jun 13, 2023 07:00 PM IST

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