‘Rein in Annamalai’: AIADMK's ultimatum to BJP over dig at Jayalalithaa

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Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai’s penchant for passing offhanded remarks at political rivals seems to have boomeranged on him, threatening his party’s prospects in the state. His recent comment against former chief minister J Jayalalithaa has angered alliance partner AIADMK, which on Monday (June 12) gave the ultimatum that it will be forced to rethink the tie-up if Annamalai doesn’t hold his tongue.

This threat could prove costly for the BJP, which recently lost the Assembly elections in Karnataka and will find retaining its position in Tamil Nadu tough without the backing of the AIADMK.

Also read: Annamalai challenges TN CM to file another libel case over PTR tape leak

In an interview with an English daily, Annamalai while not naming anyone, had spoken about corruption in Tamil Nadu and the conviction of “former chief ministers.” It was apparent that he referred to former chief minister J Jayalalithaa who was convicted in a disproportionate assets case.

AIADMK sees red

Taking strong exception to Annamalai for his alleged criticism of the AIADMK and its leader Jayalalithaa, AIADMK’s former state minister D Jayakumar accused the BJP leader of creating confusion in the alliance and sought to know if the Delhi leaders approved his actions.

“Is it Annamalai’s intention to see that the AIADMK-BJP alliance does not win a seat in the 2024 Lok Sabha election and that Narendra Modi should not become Prime Minister again? Are not his activities oriented in this direction?” Jayakumar sought to know while addressing mediapersons in Chennai.

Also read: Alliance with BJP continues, no issues with Annamalai: EPS after meeting Amit Shah

Asserting that Annamalai’s criticism of their deceased leader was “unacceptable,” Jayakumar wondered why the state BJP chief, 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 asked.

Indicating that the BJP on its own is nothing in Tamil Nadu, Jayakumar said his party’s strong presence in the state ensured the BJP’s victory of four seats in the 2021 Assembly election. “After a gap of 20 years, the BJP made an entry into the state assembly with four MLAs today because of the AIADMK. Will Annamalai deny this? The BJP will get an identity only when it remains in the AIADMK alliance,” the former minister said.

Also read: Audio clip leak: Stalin stands by PTR, accuses Annamalai of ‘cheap politics’

He said the AIADMK would be forced to rethink its alliance with the saffron party if Annamalai continued to needlessly criticise the party and if the BJP central leadership did not restrain an “immature” Annamalai, who wants to project himself.

Alliance dharma

“Annamalai should hold his tongue and follow alliance dharma,” he said and pointed to the smooth ties in the ruling DMK camp where the Congress remained restrained despite the DMK always raking up the troubles it faced during the Emergency imposed by the Congress government in 1975.

Asked if he wanted a change in BJP state leadership, Jayakumar replied, “That’s not our demand. We want him to be restrained. Remember the AIADMK is like a huge banyan tree and the BJP only a plant.”

Former chief minister O Panneerselvam also criticised the BJP while calling Annamalai’s remarks against former chief minister Jayalalithaa a reflection of his “political immaturity.”

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