In closed-door meeting, Annamalai bats against alliance with AIADMK; says will quit post if need be

Annamalai's comment comes soon after BJP national president JP Nadda asked party cadres not to antagonise alliance partner AIADMK.

ByVinodh Arulappan

Published Mar 18, 2023 | 6:07 PMUpdatedMar 18, 2023 | 6:07 PM

In closed-door meeting, Annamalai bats against alliance with AIADMK; says will quit post if need be

A statement made by BJP Tamil Nadu unit chief K Annamalai against any alliance in the state has left party leaders shocked.

Just days after the central leadership of the BJP, including party president JP Nadda, gave explicit instructions against making any statements that would antagonise alliance partner AIADMK, Annamalai, in an internal party meeting, reportedly said he would quit as state president if the BJP insists on an alliance with Dravidian parties.

Sources at the meeting of party’s functionaries at a private marriage hall in Amjikkarai in Chennai on Friday, 17 March, told South First that Annamalai insisted that the BJP should contest alone in the coming parliamentary elections — now just over a year away — without any alliance with the Dravidian parties and should prove its strength.

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Annamalai wants BJP to go it alone

According to sources who were present, Annamalai, who came to the meeting by noon, spoke that his mission is to make the BJP a bigger and deciding factor in Tamil Nadu politics and he has plans for the growth of the party on a large scale.

“It is time to stop ‘pillion riding’ with the Dravidian parties and test our strength, without their support. BJP can win a considerable number of seats in the election and I am working toward achieving this strategy,” the source quoted Annamalai as saying.

The statement comes in the backdrop of several functionaries of BJP quitting the saffron party and joining the AIADMK.

Also Read: DMK government in the dock as leaders violate the law

‘Will quit as state president’

He also said, according to the source: “In case, if the national leadership doesn’t agree with my plans and goes for an alliance with the Dravidian parties, and restricts me from performing in my own way, I will quit the state president’s post and will work as a grassroot cadre for the welfare of the party.”

“There is no use of being in the post, taking the party along a routine route, as in the past, where there was no substantial growth,” the source quoted Annamalai as saying.

Annamalai also reportedly said that he is not a person to plead before an alliance party for a few seats and that is the reason he told the media a few days back that he is not a manager for the party, but a leader.

At this juncture, Annamalai supporters Karu Nagarajan and Amar Prasad Reddy raised their voices, asking the ‘Thalaivar’ (Annamalai) not to make hasty decisions, the source said.

Narayanan Tirupathi, the state vice president, sought clarifications from Annamalai in his speech.

Further, Vanathi Srinivasan, national president of the Women’s Wing of the BJP, reportedly stated in reply to Annamalai’s speech, that this was not the platform to speak on the alliance, and that the alliance would be decided only by the Core Committee meeting comprising national leaders.

Continuing his speech, Annamalai said that he will not be able to concentrate on Tamil Nadu politics till May first week as he was assigned with Karnataka election works. He also told the functionaries that he will make an important announcement after 10 May.

Related: More BJP leaders quit Tamil Nadu unit to join AIADMK

AIADMK responds

Speaking to South First, AIADMK senior leader OS Manian said that the party is the leader of the alliance in Tamil Nadu. So, naturally, it will decide the number of seats, etc, to be given to alliance partnetrs.

Political observer Ravindran Duraisamy, speaking to South First, said: “Annamalai had already proved 5 percent vote strength for BJP in the local body elections and now he is believing that he will get 8 percent vote share by contesting in double-digit seats in the Lok Sabha elections.”

Responding positively to the question of whether Annamalai is trying to build a third front alliance, Duraisamy said: “Annamalai might have an alliance with TTV Dhinakaran, the O Paneerselvam faction, Sasikala, Parivendhar and other parties and could head a third front.”

Political observers said that the move by Annamalai towards a third front will benefit the DMK and weaken the AIADMK.

They also opined that as far as Tamil Nadu is concerned, third front politics had never worked out.