AIADMK says no alliance with BJP in Tamil Nadu after rift widens

The AIADMK and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are not in alliance in Tamil Nadu, a senior leader from the Dravidian party D Jayakumar said on Monday, adding that a decision on a poll-related pact will be taken during the elections.

Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai. (ANI)

The AIADMK party cadre will not tolerate criticisms levelled by BJP Tamil Nadu’s state president K Annamalai, the party’s organising secretary Jayakumar said

“He doesn’t respect the alliance dharma, (and) so I’m saying there is no alliance,” Jayakumar told reporters in Chennai on Monday.

“This is not my personal opinion but is of the party. BJP is not in alliance with the AIADMK. It (any alliance) will be decided during elections. This is our stand,” Jayakumar said, adding that the BJP has an identity in the southern state only because of the AIADMK .

The AIADMK’s announcement came after a fresh round of disagreement with the BJP’s Tamil Nadu unit turned bitter in the last few days after the former warned Annamalai for speaking against DMK founder and Dravidian icon C N Annadurai.

“He didn’t put a full stop to it. He consistently kept insulting our leaders,” said Jayakumar.

The AIADMK had previously passed a resolution against Annamalai when he spoke of corruption cases against AIADMK leader, the late J Jayalalithaa. “We already said if he doesn’t stop, we will have to reassess our alliance. There is no alliance.”

Also Read: Tamil Nadu agency searches premises of ex-AIADMK MLA in DA case

Jayakumar said the BJP cadres want an alliance with AIADMK but not Annamalai.

This fresh bout of political conflict between the two parties started a day after AIADMK general secretary Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS) met Union home minister Amit Shah in Delhi on September 14.

Leaders from the BJP and AIADMK told HT that at the meeting, the two leaders discussed the Kodanad heist-cum- murder case where the ruling DMK is said to have gathered evidence to pin EPS. They also discussed BJP’s wish to contest in 15 out of the 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu. This number was seen as too ambitious since the BJP lost all five seats it contested in alliance with the AIADMK in the previous 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

“Unless EPS makes a statement on the alliance, we will not take anyone else seriously,” a senior BJP leader who asked not to be named said. “It is the AIADMK’s tactics to give us fewer seats.”

On September 11, Annamalai made a remark related to an incident involving Annadurai in 1956. The BJP leader said that while Annadurai applauded a girl for singing a devotional hymn during a meeting in Madurai in 1956, he had said that thanks to rationalism, people no longer believe that she was able to sing only with the blessings of God. This had irked Muthuramanlinga Thevar, a caste leader and Annadurai apologised to him, said Annamalai.

Three days after his speech, Jayakumar on September 15 said that Annamalai should apologise for the remark.

On September 16, AIADMK leader Sellur Raja said Tamil Nadu will kick out anyone who speaks against Anna. It became personal with AIADMK’s former law minister C V Shunmugam saying that Annamalai is trying to break the alliance. After splitting from the DMK in 1972, M G Ramachandran added Annadurai’s name to his newly floated party as Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-AIADMK which later became AIADMK.

Annamalai on Sunday rebutted that he is capable of “dirty politics” and said, he could list what Shunmugam had done when he was a law minister. In a veiled attack against EPS, Annamalai said statements from AIADMK are a reflection of their leader.

The BJP leader, however, clarified that he did not denigrate Anna but only quoted history. “They are jealous of the growth of the BJP here,” Annamalai said. “Nobody has fallen on anyone’s feet in BJP to become a leader,” he added in an apparent reference to the sycophancy of AIADMK leaders falling on late J Jaylalaithaa’s feet.

Annamalai also said that the ideologies of the BJP and AIADMK are different and that is acceptable in a coalition. “There will be differences but for that we cannot be slaves,” Annamalai said adding that ‘sanatana dharma’ is the breath of BJP referring to the on-going controversy as well as his remarks on Anna. “Threats and warnings will not work with me.”

The ties between the allies particularly between Annamalai and EPS have been strained for several months. The AIADMK has maintained that they have a good relationship with BJP’s top brass Shah and party president J P Nadda.

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