Tamil Nadu BJP president K. Annamalai, at a party office-bearers’ meeting on Friday, said that he would offer to resign as president, if the BJP was to continue its alliance with the AIADMK for the 2024 Parliamentary elections, party sources confirmed.
Mr. Annamalai’s unequivocal stance on leaving the alliance had both supporters as well as those who reacted cautiously, at the State-level meeting attended by senior leaders, including Coimbatore South MLA Vanathi Srinivasan, M. Chakravarthy and V.P. Duraisamy.
A few senior leaders later told The Hindu that Mr. Annamalai’s assertion could be perceived as an ultimatum to the party’s national leadership to break the alliance with the AIADMK. Mr. Annamalai’s statements in the meeting came in the backdrop of ongoing tension between the AIADMK and the BJP.
A few leaders who attended the meeting told The Hindu that Mr. Annamalai had already communicated, over the phone, his views, to the party’s national leadership, and he was hoping for a meeting with the leadership soon in order to articulate his position clearly. If the national leadership decided to continue the alliance, he said he would resign as president and continue to serve the party as a cadre.
According to sources, Mr. Annamalai said in the meeting that the BJP could not reach the growth that he was envisioning for the party in Tamil Nadu if it continued to be in alliance with the AIADMK. He said he joined the party and took the opportunity to serve as State president with the aim of bringing the BJP to power, and not to play second fiddle to the AIADMK, promoting its interim general secretary Edappadi K. Palaniswami’s leadership.
He was of the view that the people would not trust in his and the party’s campaign for “clean” governance in the State as they would sense a discord between the BJP and its ally the AIADMK, which, according to him, did not have an image of being a party free of corruption.
As said in his earlier interactions with the media, he reportedly reiterated that he would not accept distributing cash for votes, which the BJP may be expected to do if it was in alliance with the AIADMK. He made it clear that he would not be able to work wholeheartedly in an AIADMK-BJP alliance as he did not believe that it was good for his party.
Uncertainty over yatra
Party sources said that Mr. Annamalai’s padayatra across the State, which was expected to begin in mid-April, may get postponed. However, he may release the documents on his personal finances and documents “exposing” the alleged corruption of the ruling DMK, as promised, in April.
Mr. Annamalai’s decision to carry out the yatra would depend on the BJP national leadership’s decision on its alliance with the AIADMK, which is unlikely until the Assembly elections in Karnataka are over. Mr. Annamalai is serving as the party’s co-incharge for the Karnataka Assembly polls.
AIADMK refuses to react
The AIADMK’s organisation secretary and former Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar, said he did not want to react to Mr. Annamalai’s remarks, the latter had made these remarks at an internal party meeting, and might have made them with the intention of keeping his party members “in good humour.”