EPS says leaders like Annamalai responsible for BJP losing majority, rules out alliance for 2026 polls

EPS said that AIADMK bagged more vote share in the election only because of the expulsion of Panneerselvam and Sasikala.


Published Jun 08, 2024 | 9:01 PM Updated Jun 08, 2024 | 9:01 PM

AIADMK chief EPS hits out at Annamalai

AIADMK chief Edappadi K Palaniswami on Saturday, 8 June, said his party had improved its performance in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls when compared to the 2019 elections and taunted BJP leader K Annamalai and others like him for the saffron party failing to cross the majority mark on its own.

Speaking to reporters after a party meeting, for the first time after the declaration of results of the 2024 LS polls, Palaniswami rejected the view that several seats could have been won had there been an alliance between the AIADMK and BJP. The AIADMK failed to win a single Parliamentary seat in Tamil Nadu.

Had allies of the DMK, if they had joined hands with his party, “all the segments in the state would have been won,” he said. Success and failure in elections depend on change in circumstances in the run-up to the polls and it differs from time to time and from state to national polls.

On the BJP failing to get a majority on its own at the Centre, Palaniswami said the setback appears to be due to leaders like saffron party’s chief in Tamil Nadu K Annamalai and there seem to be many leaders in several states in the party like Annamalai. Had there been capable office-bearers, the BJP would have secured a majority, he said.

In other parties, a string of leaders were in the field and as far as his party was concerned, he singularly led the campaign. Despite challenges such as a ‘defamatory and disinformation campaign’ aimed at AIADMK by rivals, he said the party performed better than in the 2019 LS polls and got ‘one per cent more’ in 2024, a big victory for it, he said.

In 2014, BJP leader CP Radhakrishnan lost an opportunity to win in Coimbatore, losing by only about 25,000 votes. Now, BJP Tamil Nadu chief Annamalai has secured a lesser number of votes than Radhakrishnan, he claimed.

Also Read: Annamalai is the reason my party severed ties with BJP: AIADMK’s SP Velumani

Previous Lok Sabha elections

Referring to the election results over the decades relating to the AIADMK and DMK, he said a party, even if loses badly in an election, history shows it has rebounded and won hands down.

“The vote share percentage changes from election to election and it is natural,” he said. In the 1991 Assembly polls, the DMK won only two seats and in the 1996 polls, the AIADMK won only four seats. “Were the DMK and AIADMK destroyed by such defeats?” he asked.

In 2014, though the DMK did not win a single LS seat in the state, it succeeded in subsequent polls. Hence, he asserted that the view that the AIADMK has faced a ‘setback’ is a ‘fake information’ spread deliberately.

To a question on his party leader SP Velumani commenting that had the AIADMK and BJP joined hands, it would have led to a win in about 14 constituencies, he said the leader answered to a question posed by journalists and Velumani’s view was distorted for the sake of sensationalism.

On O Panneerselvam, former chief minister and VK Sasikala, a confidante of late party supremo J Jayalalithaa, reiterating their call for unity following AIADMK’s poll ‘debacle,’ Palaniswami said, “It is all over and there is no use talking about things that have already happened.” Sticking to his stand and ruling out rapprochement with them, he accused Panneerselvam of causing confusion.

Only because of the expulsion of Panneerselvam and Sasikala, the AIADMK has bagged more vote share in 2024 polls, he said and blamed the media for stating that his party has faced a setback.

To a question on the Kongu belt including Coimbatore slipping out of AIADMK’s hold, he said the people distinguished between Lok Sabha and Assembly polls. The AIADMK chief expressed confidence in returning to power by winning the Assembly polls in 2026.

Also Read: 51 out of 131 MPs from South are debutants; Congress’ Sasikanth Senthil wins with over 5 lakh margin

Palaniswami stoutly defended severing ties with BJP and said national parties forget Tamil Nadu after winning polls. He reiterated that there will be no alliance with the BJP for the 2026 Assembly polls.

According to Election Commission data, the BJP and AIADMK had a 5.56 percent and a 44.92 percent vote share respectively in the 2014 LS polls in Tamil Nadu. In Coimbatore, BJP’s CP Radhakrishnan had secured 3,89,701 votes, the runner-up and the AIADMK candidate, P Nagarajan the winner, polled 4,31,717 votes and the margin between them was 42,016 votes.

For the first time, the BJP led an alliance of smaller parties in Tamil Nadu in the 2024 LS polls and without the support of Dravidian parties — the DMK and AIADMK – reached double-digit vote share (11.24 percent).

In 2019 (led by the AIADMK) and in 2014 LS polls (DMDK was the major partner), BJP was a junior partner in Tamil Nadu.

(Disclaimer: The headline, subheads, and intro of this report along with the photos may have been reworked by South First. The rest of the content is from a syndicated feed, and has been edited for style.)