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The main opposition party in Tamil Nadu, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), has officially snapped all ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), coinciding with the Assembly election likely due in December and the Lok Sabha election 2024. It wasn’t an overnight decision; the differences between the AIADMK and the BJP sprouted a few months ago when Annamalai expressed his desire for the party to go solo in the state, much to ally AIADMK’s annoyance.

The rift between the AIADMK and the BJP started when the latter criticised AIADMK’s performance in the Erode by-election which was followed by the exit of some leaders such as CTR Nirmal Kumar from BJP to AIADMK. While leaving, CTR Nirmal Kumar called Annamalai an “autocratic person” and blamed him for the dropping visibility of the saffron party.

“The destruction of the party, under the leadership of an autocratic person, who acts arbitrarily is clearly visible and the BJP is today not even 20% of what it was in 2019 in the state,” CTR Nirmal Kumar said.

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A few days later in March 2023, state BJP boss K Annamalai expressed his dissatisfaction with the saffron party’s alliance with the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu and shared his intention to step down from his position if the alliance continued, widening the dispute between the two parties.

At a closed-door meeting, The Times of India quoted a source as saying: “Annamalai said that only if the BJP contests alone, will there be growth for the party. If the BJP continues to ally with the AIADMK, he would resign from the post of the state president.”

The final nail in the coffin of their alliance was Annamalai’s remarks on veteran AIADMK leaders – CN Annadurai, and J Jayalalithaa.

In June 2023, Annamalai, in an interview published in an English daily, was asked whether the 1991-96 period was among the worst in terms of corruption in the state. To this, Annamalai said several administrations in Tamil Nadu were corrupt, resulting in the conviction of former chief ministers in courts of law, making it one of the most corrupt states in India.

Note: The AIADMK, led by Jayalalithaa, was in power in Tamil Nadu during the period from 1991 to 1996 and was revered as the “Amma” (mother) and “Puratchi Thalaivi” (revolutionary leader) not just by the AIADMK cadre but the Tamilians too.

That created a controversy…resulting in the AIADMK passing a resolution against Annamalai.

The last catalyst to the already simmering tensions between the AIADMK and the BJP was Annamalai’s claim that former Chief Minister CN Annadurai had insulted Hinduism back in 1956 and had to hide in Madurai following a controversy.

An AIADMK delegation also met BJP chief JP Nadda but AIADMK snapping ties with the BJP suggested that the Tamil Nadu BJP chief enjoys substantial support from within the party leadership.

ANNAMALAI GOT WHAT HE SOUGHT, A BREAK-UP

Fast forward to September 25. The AIADMK snapped all ties with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Tamil Nadu ahead of the Lok Sabha elections after a row over BJP state chief K Annamalai’s remarks against veterans CN Annadurai and J Jayalalithaa.

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Updated: 28 Sep 2023, 01:27 PM IST

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