Those who agree with our ideology will align with us: AIADMK leader

Ideology, not alliance, is important for the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), said the party’s heavyweight and former municipal administration minister S P Velumani on Tuesday, the lone voice to comment on the matter a day after the party hinted of strain in ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

S P Velumani (HT Archives)

Both parties remained restrained on Tuesday, a day after AIADMK organising secretary D Jayakumar on Monday said that their stand is to not remain with the BJP because of the party’s Tamil Nadu chief K Annamalai’s comments against Dravidian icons.

“He [Annamalai] should have refrained from making such comments,” said Velumani speaking to reporters in Coimbatore.

Velumani added that AIADMK general secretary Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS) is carrying forward the Dravidian ideology started by the Dravida Kazhagam (DK) and he will lead an alliance for next year’s Lok Sabha elections and subsequent assembly elections. “Those who agree with our ideology will align with us,” said Velumani.

The development comes after AIADMK asked Annamalai to retract his comments on a 1956 incident related to Dravidian stalwarts C N Annadurai, saying he was only keen to “promote” himself and was therefore targeting late Dravidian stalwart Annadurai.

No vocal critics of the BJP echoed from the AIADMK after Jayakumar’s tirade against Annamalai, nor has the national party in the state made a come back on the remarks made by its chief. BJP state spokesperson Narayanan Thirupathy said that the alliance is “rock solid”.

Meanwhile, Puthiya Tamilagam, a regional party, sought BJP national president J P Nadda’s intervention in matter to mend the relationship between the two parties and bring AIADMK back in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

“I have already urged him [Nadda] to organise a meeting and strengthen the alliance,” founder Puthiya Tamilagam K Krishnasamy said on Tuesday. “It is important to create unity among the NDA parties.”

An AIADMK leader said that their issue is only with Annamalai and not the central leadership, with whom matters of alliance would be discussed closer to the Lok Sabha elections. “We have a cordial relationship with the BJP leaders in Delhi,” the AIADMK leader said. “But, our cadre will not tolerate Annamalai denigrating our dead leaders. So we took a stand.”

Besides wanting more seats in next year’s Lok Sabha elections, the AIADMK says that there is pressure from the BJP to take bring back the rebels, particularly TTV Dhinakaran who has the community backing of Thevars in southern Tamil Nadu.

“It is true. It is the present AIADMK’s weakness, because of which we lost the 2021 assembly elections,” said a senior BJP leader. “We want the factions to unite, and we will not break away from EPS who is the strongest leader in the party.”

Not after EPS was seated next to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the NDA meeting in Delhi earlier in July, he added.

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