INTERVIEW | ‘After polls, BJP’s growth in Tamil Nadu will only be upwards’

INTERVIEW | ‘After polls, BJP’s growth in Tamil Nadu will only be upwards’

The line of questioning only serves to highlight the inherent bias that many media outlets have towards the BJP’s growth in TN.

You can’t call him a greenhorn politician nor will he allow you to write off his party’s setback in his state in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections. He will turn around and ask you to do your math correctly.

“While the BJP did not win a single seat in Tamil Nadu the NDA alliance garnered an 18.2% vote share and the BJP had an individual vote share of 11.2%. In 78 of the 234 assembly constituencies, the BJP has secured the second position, pushing AIADMK to number 3,” cop-turned-firebrand politician and TN BJP chief K Annamalai told Bala Chauhan in an interview. Excerpts:

What went wrong for the BJP in Tamil Nadu despite the hectic campaigning by the PM and you?

The line of questioning only serves to highlight the inherent bias that many media outlets have towards the BJP’s growth in TN. It’s important to note that a national party without an alliance with the major Dravidian parties has secured a double-digit vote share after five decades in TN. Our Honourable Prime Minister, speaking from the Central Hall of Parliament in the NDA alliance partners meeting, not only commended the growth of BJP in TN but also emphasised that the growth from here will only be upwards, a clear testament to our achievements.

The NDA alliance garnered an 18.2% vote share in Tamil Nadu, and the BJP had an individual vote share of 11.2%. Of the 39 constituencies, the NDA alliance clinched the second position in 12 constituencies. In a significant 78 of the 234 assembly constituencies, the BJP has secured the second position, pushing AIADMK to number 3.

DMK’s vote share dropped from 33.5% in 2019 to 26.93% in 2024. On the other hand, BJP’s vote share increased from 3.3% in 2019 to 11.24% in 2024, and AIADMK’s vote share almost remained constant.

As a momentous achievement, we have not only succeeded in elevating the party’s vote share to double digits in this election but also in demonstrating our rising influence and popularity among the voters.

Our next goal is to send MPs from TN, and we are confident of achieving this in next election.

Though BJP has not won a single seat in TN, its vote share is higher than 10% of the Congress. What do you attribute this success to?

Our cadres have put their heart and soul into the development of our party across Tamil Nadu, a testament to our commitment to the state and its people. Their dedication, hard work, and perseverance are key factors in our growing influence in the state.

The Congress, on the other hand, is comfortable in an alliance with DMK. Beyond a few Lok Sabha seats, Congress in TN has a negligible presence. It is able to showcase this double-digit vote share only due to an alliance with DMK, VCK, and the minority parties. At least 38 of the 39 Congress candidates lost their deposit when they contested independently.

This stark contrast between our and Congress performance is a reflection of BJP’s growing influence in TN. So, comparing Congress in TN to the BJP is not ideal.

Why, despite increased vote share the saffron party could not win a single seat?

If you have tracked this election well, you would have your answer to this question.

AIADMK contested 33 seats, an increase of 10 from the last elections, but could gain a vote share of just 0.8%. In the seats BJP was confident of winning, AIADMK either lost deposits or managed to secure deposits. This indicates that AIADMK focused on BJP instead of winning and voluntarily let their vote transfer to DMK.

For example, AIADMK contested independently in 2014 and won about 4.5 lakh votes in Coimbatore but could manage 2.3 lakh votes in 2024. Apart from Coimbatore, there were a few seats that we were confident of winning, but the performance of AIADMK reflected that they were in cahoots with DMK.

INTERVIEW | ‘After polls, BJP’s growth in Tamil Nadu will only be upwards’
Annamalai says Kallakurichi hooch tragedy a murder by DMK, stays away from BJP protest

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com