Actor-politician Gayathri Raguramm announced on Tuesday, 3 January, that she was quitting the BJP and blamed the party’s Tamil Nadu K Annamalai for her decision.
She was suspended for six months from the Tamil Nadu unit of the BJP in November last year for allegedly bringing “disrepute” to the party.
In a series of tweets, Gayathri alleged that women in Tamil Nadu BJP are not safe under Annamalai’s leadership, and warned them that they were on their own.
She said: “Nobody cares about true karyakartas, the only goal is to chase away true karyakartas by Annamalai… Today I took this hasty decision & credit goes to Annamalai… He is Cheap tactic liar and adharmic leader. [sic]”
She added: “I cannot continue under Annamalai leadership. Cannot expect social justice. Women stay safe don’t trust that someone will save you. No one is going to come. You are on your own. Believe yourself. Never stay where you are not respected. [sic]”
She went on to claim that she was also ready to file a police complaint and submit video and audio clips of alleged abuse of women by leaders in the BJP and to “further investigate Annamalai”.
Interestingly, the BJP seems to have high hopes of a good show in elections in Tamil Nadu with Annamalai at the helm.
I have taken the decision with heavy heart to resign from TNBJP for not giving opportunity for an enquiry, equal rights & respect for women. Under Annamalai leadership women are not safe. I feel better to be trolled as an outsider.
.@narendramodi .@AmitShah @JPNadda @blsanthosh
— Gayathri Raguramm 🇮🇳🚩 (@Gayathri_R_) January 2, 2023
Trigger for resignation
One of the main reasons behind Gayathri’s decision was the alleged personal attacks she has been facing, purportedly from Annamalai and his supporters — both offline and online.
From claiming that Annamalai spoke ill about her in front of 150 people at a hotel to accusing his supporters of running a “war room” to target leaders like her, the actor-politician stated that she was being constantly trolled and attacked.
Another reason for her resignation appeared to be a lack of inquiry into her suspension.
On Tuesday, Gayathri told reporters that despite waiting for two months and writing to senior leaders of the party, she witnessed no internal probe being initiated into the circumstances around her suspension and that she was not given a chance to give an explanation.
Though she levelled certain grave allegations against Tamil Nadu BJP state chief K Annamalai, he is yet to respond to the charges.
Gayathri served as the BJP’s Other States and Overseas Tamil Development Wing president before her suspension from the party.
On 22 November, 2022, she was suspended for a period of six months for continuously “violating party discipline” and “bringing disrepute” to the party.
In his statement announcing the suspension, Annamalai also asked other members and cadres not to have any truck with her.
Gayathri and Annamalai have not been on good terms for several months now.
According to sources in the BJP, what triggered the action against her was some of her social media posts about party affairs and tweets against Annamalai.
For instance, Gayathri put out a series of tweets expressing her unhappiness over not being invited to the inauguration of the Kashi Tamil Sangamam, an initiative Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a special interest in, despite being a part of the committee.
She also tweeted against Selva Kumar, vice-president of the BJP’s Industrial Wing, for allegedly unleashing trolls against her and other senior BJP leaders in order to “take them down”.
This, however, is not the first time Gayathri is getting into trouble with the state leadership.
After a confrontation with former BJP state chief Tamilisai Soundararajan and critical social media posts, Gayathri was removed from the party in November 2018.
She was re-inducted two years ago, and was later appointed president of its Art and Culture Wing.
In May last year, she was relieved of the post and given the Other States and Overseas Tamil Development Wing after a reshuffle within the party. Gayathri was apparently miffed with Annamalai over this as well.
After she was suspended from the party, Gayathri started speaking openly against Annamalai.
Responding to his statement announcing disciplinary action against her, she wondered how action could be taken against her without proper inquiry or without asking her to show cause.