Barely months ahead of Lok Sabha polls 2024, the BJP has lost its most influential alliance partner in the whole of South India.
On Monday, 25 September, the AIADMK — led by Edappadi K Palaniswami — ended its seven-year tie-up with the BJP after passing a resolution in a high-level committee meeting.
It stated that the party is no longer in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The decision comes as a blow to the BJP that is trying to stitch up alliances across the country to counter Opposition parties’ Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) bloc.
Further, the AIADMK stated that it will lead a separate front for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
The party called for an urgent meeting of its organisational functionaries, including district secretaries, MLAs, and former ministers. Chairing the meeting, Palaniswami, popularly called EPS, spoke about recent incidents of BJP national leaders insulting the party and sought the opinion of the functionaries.
புரட்சித்தலைவர் எம்.ஜி.ஆர் மாளிகையில், இன்று மாண்புமிகு கழகப் பொதுச்செயலாளர் "புரட்சித் தமிழர்" திரு. @EPSTamilNadu அவர்கள் தலைமையில், தலைமைக் கழகச் செயலாளர்கள், மாவட்டக் கழகச் செயலாளர்கள், கழக நாடாளுமன்ற, சட்டமன்ற உறுப்பினர்களின் ஆலோசனைக் கூட்டம் நடைபெற்றது. pic.twitter.com/2Jruydx7r2
— AIADMK (@AIADMKOfficial) September 25, 2023
Also Read: AIADMK, BJP pretending to ‘fight,’: Stalin
What was discussed in the meeting
According to sources, while speaking at the meeting, former minister D Jayakumar said that the AIADMK high command should not bow to the threats of the BJP. He added that the grassroots cadres were upset by the party’s ties with the saffron party.
He also said that even though they (AIADMK) openly declare Modi as the prime ministerial candidate, the BJP Delhi leaders hesitate to proclaim Palaniswami as the chief ministerial candidate for the alliance.
Further, deputy general secretary of the AIADMK KP Munusamy, in the meeting, stated that the BJP Delhi leaders made it clear that they would not replace the current state BJP chief K Annamalai. He added that the BJP was trying to take advantage of the AIADMK.
Munusamy also said that carrying the BJP on its shoulders is a burden. He reportedly said that the party’s aim is only on the Assembly elections and even if the BJP comes to power, they will take the upper hand against the AIADMK, which is not good for the growth of the party.
After the deliberations, the meeting decided to unanimously end ties with the BJP and lead a separate front for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Munusamy announces break-up
Later, the senior leaders — headed by Munusamy and including Dindigul Sreenivasan, Jayakumar, Natham Viswanathan, and SP Velumani — met the media gathered before the AIADMK headquarters at Lloyds Road in Chennai.
Munusamy read out the resolution passed during the meeting, stating that the AIADMK had passed it unanimously.
“The AIADMK is breaking all ties with BJP and NDA from today. The state leadership of the BJP has been continuously making unnecessary remarks about our former leaders, our general secretary EPS, and our cadres for the past year,” the resolution stated.
மாண்புமிகு கழகப் பொதுச்செயலாளர் "புரட்சித் தமிழர்" திரு. @EPSTamilNadu அவர்களின் தலைமையில் நடைபெற்ற தலைமைக் கழக செயலாளர்கள், மாவட்டக் கழக செயலாளர்கள், கழக நாடாளுமன்ற, சட்டமன்ற உறுப்பினர்கள் ஆலோசனைக் கூட்டத்தில், 2 கோடி தொண்டர்களின் எண்ணத்திற்கும், விருப்பத்திற்கும் மதிப்பளித்து…
— AIADMK (@AIADMKOfficial) September 25, 2023
He said that the BJP’s state leadership has been, of late, defaming Dravidian icons like late CN Annadurai and late chief minister J Jayalalithaa, besides criticising its policies and also mocking the AIADMK conference held in Madurai on 20 August.
“We will form an alliance, led by the party’s general secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami, with the parties that come on our lines in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections,” Munusamy said.
The AIADMK leaders, without responding to the questions, went back inside the headquarters. Later, Palaniswami held a meeting with the district unit secretaries.
The BJP state unit president K Annamalai, who is on his yatra in Coimbatore, said that the party’s national leaders will respond to the announcement.
“I will not say anything about the decision of the AIADMK as of now. Our national leaders will respond. But I will tell you my opinion after our Delhi leaders speak about the issue,” Annamalai said.
Meanwhile, BJP state secretary Dr Srinivasan told the media that they (BJP) are also happy with the decision of AIADMK.
“We will take on both the DMK and the AIADMK hereafter,” he said.
After the decision to part ways with the BJP was announced, AIADMK cadres burst crackers and distributed sweets.
Additionally, parties in the DMK alliance, including the MDMK, VCK, the CPI, and the CPM welcomed the move. Naam Tamilar Katchi Chief Coordinator Seeman also welcomed Palaniswami’s move.