Tamil Nadu BJP chief Annamalai has flared a divide in the BJP- ADMK alliance that sparked an immediate reaction from the ADMK leaders, passing a resolution against him for the first time. The crucial events that are unfolding from the coalition for the past two days have marked a fresh political friction that would possibly skew the alliance ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
On Tuesday- June 13, Tamil Nadu's opposition party ADMK has passed a resolution in the party's high-level meeting and ADMK came down hard on Annamalai stating that he lacks 'political maturity'. The ADMK's district secretaries meet was held in Madurai on Tuesday and it had the attendance of party's general secretary Edappadi Palaniswami and other senior leaders, who strongly backed the resolution against Annamalai.
In the recent revolt in the alliance, Annamalai's remarks during an interview has sparked a conflict between the leaders of both the parties with senior ADMK leader C Ve Shanmugam apparently urged Annamalai to leave the alliance if he doesn't want to be part. The ADMK's resolution had attacked the BJP by underlining that the saffron party had no single representative in the Tamil Nadu Assembly for the past two decades and the party currently has four MLAs due to the support of ADMK's general secretary Edappadi Palaniswami.
What's behind the recent conflict?
During a recent interview with the Times Of India, Annamalai was asked about his claims of corruption within the political parties and about ADMK's former supremo Jayalalithaa's reign from 1991 to 1996, during which she amassed more wealth that later convicted her in the disproportionate assets case with four-year prison sentence. Responding to this question, Annamalai has said that Tamil Nadu is one of the most corrupt states where former Chief Ministers have been convicted.
As his remarks have sparked heatwaves across the state, the top ADMK leaders have trained their guns on Annamalai as they have been slamming the BJP leader, which led the ADMK to pass a first-of-its-kind resolution against Annamalai, accusing him of lacking political maturity. The ADMK had also warned him to hold his tongue or else it would consider its alliance with the BJP.
After passing a resolution against Annamalai, ADMK's Edappadi Palaniswami addressed the reporters during which he condemned the BJP leader's remarks and said that Annamalai has made derogatory remarks against Jayalalithaa with a hidden motive. By citing that Annamalai's remarks are unacceptable, Palaniswami had expressed concerns over the negative impact in the alliance.
He further said that Annamalai's remarks have hurt the ADMK cadres. As Annamalai has flared a big divide in the alliance, it is not the first time that he had accosted against the alliance with ADMK as he had earlier declared that he will step down from his post if BJP decides to ally with ADMK in the 2024 general elections. His latest remarks that had caused a fracture in the alliance have come after Union Home Minister Amit Shah's visit to Tamil Nadu.
Last Sunday, Amit Shah visited Tamil Nadu to kickstart the BJP's campaign in the state for the Lok Sabha polls. During his address in the party's event, Amit Shah has set target of 25 Lok Sabha seats out of 39 seats for the BJP alliance in Tamil Nadu. However, for BJP that needs to seal alliance with ADMK for the Lok Sabha polls, Annamalai remarks have come as a spoilsport.
ADMK, which has been attacking Annamalai and BJP for the huge debacle in the recently-held Karnataka assembly polls, has accused Annamalai of creating confusion in the alliance. Senior ADMK leader Jayakumar asked, "Is it Annamalai's intention to see that the ADMK- BJP alliance does not win in the 2024 Lok Sabha election and that Narendra Modi should not become Prime Minister again? Aren't his activities oriented in this direction?". By citing that Annamalai's criticism is unacceptable, Jayakumar asked why Annamalai, who is fond of talking about corruption, is silent on corruption allegations involving the BJP in Karnataka."
"Did the BJP win in Karnataka despite his election campaign in that state? Why doesn't he talk about the corruption allegations in Karnataka during the assembly election?", Jayakumar further asked. Highlighting that the BJP is nothing on its own in Tamil Nadu, Jayakumar said that ADMK's strong presence in the state endured BJP's victory in the 2021 state assembly polls - the saffron party has won only four seats in the assembly polls.
Jayakumar further said, "After a gap of twenty years, the BJP made an entry into the state assembly with four MLAs today because of the ADMK. Will Annamalai deny this? The BJP will get an identity only when if remains in the ADMK alliance." "Annamalai should hold his tongue and follow alliance dharma and ADMK would be forced to rethink its alliance with the BJP if Annamalai continued to needlessly criticize the party and if the BJP central leadership didn't restrain an immature Annamalai."
Responding to a question of whether ADMK wants a change in the BJP state leadership, Jayakumar said, "That's not our demand. We want him to be restrianed. Remember the ADMK is like a huge banyan tree and the BJP only a plant." Jayakumar further said, "When the ADMK is upholding the alliance dharma and Annamalai is going against it, the alliance becomes questionable. So Amit Shah and JP Nadda have to answer. The loss is not ours, Delhi also knows that." With the growing fury, the beleaguering parties ADMK and BJP have exhibited that their alliance is at stake and it could take a wrong turn ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, which will further push them into abyss.