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All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), a former ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which walked out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) earlier this week, has dismissed the reports which claimed that it had sought the removal of K Annamalai, the saffron party’s state unit chief, as a pre-condition to remain within the coalition.

Furthermore, the Edappadi Palaniswami-led party said it would be forming a “separate front” in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections in 2024. The remarks were made by senior AIADMK leader KP Munusamy, who spoke to reporters in Krishnagiri on September 28. This comes a couple of days after other AIADMK functionaries indicated that there would be no tie-up with any national party, but an alliance will be stitched with smaller state parties. 

On being asked whether the AIADMK had asked the BJP top brass to sack Annamalai, Munuswamy said no such demand was raised by the party. 

“It is childish to even ask if such a large party like AIADMK would seek the removal of the party’s state president. We will never commit such a mistake,” Munusamy was quoted as saying by India Today. He further added that it would be “uncivilised” within a democracy to ask another party how to function.

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Annamalai, the fiery BJP leader who has been leading its affairs in Tamil Nadu since 2021, has sounded critical of the AIADMK even when the two parties were in an alliance. The ties deteriorated in June this year, after he was accused of “intentionally” taking a dig at J Jayalalithaa, the late matriarch of the AIADMK.

Reports had claimed that senior AIADMK leaders had, earlier this month, called upon BJP national president JP Nadda and asked him to act against Annamalai for targeting their party icons in Tamil Nadu. However, either sides were yet to issue a statement after the meeting. 

AIADMK’s decision to exit the NDA, as announced on September 25, was met with celebration by the party’s cadres who believed that they were losing their grip on the Dravadian and minority community voters due to the association with the BJP. 

The state-ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), however, has alleged that the AIADMK is indulging in a “drama” and will patch-up with the BJP in 2024. 

Munuswamy rebutted the charge, saying that the DMK is making such speculations as they are jittery since the AIADMK severed its ties with the BJP. “We will not join the NDA at any point, and instead create a new alliance headed by Palaniswami,” he told reporters.

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Updated: 28 Sep 2023, 02:46 PM IST

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