Fresh row in Tamil Nadu politics as AIADMK ends alliance with Modi’s BJP ‘temporarily’
Top sources in the BJP said an Indian news channel that the matter will be sorted out.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi meets All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leader Edappadi K. Palaniswami (L) in New Delhi on July 18, 2023. (ANI Photo)
AMID a row over Sanatan Dharma triggered by remarks from a minister and son of the chief minister, the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu witnessed yet another development on its political front with the AIADMK (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazagham) ending its alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of prime minister Narendra Modi as of now.
The move by one of Tamil Nadu’s major political players came in the wake of a controversial comment made by the state’s BJP chief, K Annamalai, on CN Annadurai, a former chief minister of Tamil Nadu and mentor of MG Ramachandran, the founder of the AIADMK and one of the stalwarts of the state’s politics. He had formed the party based on the principles popularised by Annadurai and also named the outfit after him.
Party leader D Jayakumar said they will decide on the alliance before the election. Top sources in the BJP told India’s NDTV that the matter will be sorted out.
Annamalai had remarked that Annadurai, a Dravidian stalwart, had insulted Hinduism at an event in Madurai in Tamil Nadu in 1956 and could travel only after tendering an apology.
The AIADMK slammed Udhayanidhi Stalin, a minister who recently remarked that Sanatan Dharma should be eradicated and compared it with diseases such as dengue and malaria, saying the state’s ruling DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazagham) was trying to divert people’s attention from its misgovernance in the state.
The ruling DMK and opposition AIADMK are two of Tamil Nadu’s main political players. While the power changed hands between them in the state every five years earlier, the AIADMK has struggled to maintain its dominance since the death of Jayalalithaa in 2016.
Inner tussle between O Panneerselvam and E Palanisami, the current opposition leader who had given green signal to the alliance, has also resurfaced since it lost power to the DMK in the state election of 2021.
“Annamalai is unfit to be the BJP’s state president… He speaks ill of late leaders only to project himself,” Jayakumar, a former minister of Tamil Nadu and speaker of the state assembly, said referring to Annamalai’s remarks about party icon and former chief minister J Jayalalithaa that pushed the alliance to the brink in June.
The AIADMK had on that occasion sought that the BJP’s Tamil Nadu chief be restrained. Jayakumar said the party workers would not tolerate any insult to the late leader.
In the past, Annamalai, a former Indian Police Service officer, had spoken against allying with the AIADMK for the general elections of 2024, causing a controversy.
The AIADMK lost all elections it had fought in alliance with the BJP in the past, including the 2019 national polls and the 2021 state polls.
The two parties had first formed alliance in 1998 and swept the general elections the same year but the journey has never been smooth since then.