BENGALURU: A year after he took voluntary retirement from the Indian Police Service, K Annamalai, who was a Karnataka cadre officer, on Tuesday joined the BJP in the presence of party national general secretary P Muralidhar Rao, Tamil Nadu BJP state president L Murugan and later met party national president J P Nadda. This comes months ahead of the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections.
The former Superintendent of Police of Udupi-Chikkamagalur and Deputy Commissioner of Police, Bengaluru South, is now keen on working at the grassroots level in Tamil Nadu to increase BJP’s popularity. In an interview with The New Indian Express, Annamalai spoke about why he believes BJP is the right party for him and the challenges he is gearing up for.
Is your joining politics a build-up to the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections?
No, not at all. I wanted to be independent and have a sense of freedom with what I was doing in Tamil Nadu. At the same time, over the last few months, I began to think that political change is as important as social change. At the end of the day, we have to meet the same politicians for all our works. It is a well-thought-out decision. I did not want to take the political plunge for the next couple of years at least, but I am definitely not looking at Assembly elections. This will be a great opportunity for me to do something right for the state of Tamil Nadu. That’s the motivation, and not any election in the near future.
What made you choose BJP?
I am always a nationalist at heart and I have openly said earlier that I like Modi ji’s administration and his vision. In Tamil Nadu, Dravidian parties have been creating a negative perception of the BJP for a long time now. I am not worried about it. I go by what my heart and my conscience says. The BJP is the right party for India and Tamil Nadu.
What motivated you to switch careers?
In 2018, I had the opportunity to travel to Kailash on a three-month trip. That is the time I felt that I should make the change, but not necessarily politics. I wanted to get into social service. One decision led to another. I did not give it too much thought. I allowed life to take its own course.
You were a popular police officer in Karnataka, but is TN your choice of state as a political leader?
I am joining the BJP, a national party. Tamil Nadu, I believe, needs a new political direction and path now. The BJP might ask me to work in any part of India or nationally as well. That is the advantage of being in a national party. Whatever responsibility I am given, I will take it forward.
In your view, what are the challenges in Tamil Nadu that has been electorally averse to national parties in recent history?
The biggest challenge is to push what the party stands for. There has been a lot of misrepresentation, whether it is about Hindi language issue or policies of the BJP. Media channels are pretty strong in Tamil Nadu and a lot of Dravidian parties run the channels as well. That I see as a big challenge. Youngsters need to understand what this party is all about. If a youngster wants to get into politics, the BJP is the only party right now that is away from family politics, sycophancy. With time, I think people are warming up to the BJP. They are understanding what it stands for.
If not now, then at least in the future, do you have a constituency in mind to contest from?
I am not thinking of electoral politics now. I am looking at this as an opportunity to work and I will take it forward from there.