CHENNAI: Faced with a crucial ideological battle against the ruling DMK, a disunited AIADMK frantically engrossed in leadership tussle as ally, and few disgruntled elements within the party, BJP Tamil Nadu chief K Annamalai hopes to cruise through political choppy waters to ensure the lotus blooms in the 2024 Lok Sabha election.
He has set the goals high for the party members, mandating them to perform or give way to talented persons, who may be newcomers, a senior leader in the party said.
"Annamalai's recent analogy of accommodating new passengers if some passengers get off the bus, is seen as a warning to the party members to perform. Those working against the party's interest or don't show results may not have a place in the party," says M Chakravarthy, state vice president.
It is very crucial for the party cadres to sustain the momentum built by Annamalai who has made the BJP a strong force in the state, he said.
"The Lok Sabha election and also the 2026 Assembly polls will turn out to be a straight contest between the BJP and the DMK," claims Chakravarthy.
Recently, while explaining about his stern action on a few wrongdoers, Annamalai remarked "only when few passengers alight from the bus, new passengers could be accommodated."
"Can the fully occupied bus take in additional passengers? See, as I am talking to you, several passengers are boarding the bus over there," Annamalai sarcastically remarked during an interaction with media persons here.
On the embarrassment caused to the party due to the leak of an audio on the purported conversation between BJP functionary Tiruchi Surya Siva, son of DMK MP Tiruchi Siva, and BJP minority morcha leader Daisy Saran, Annamalai asserted that the BJP is a party for everyone.
"I will not leave anyone who commits a mistake. There's two sides of a coin. It should be investigated. There should be political decency. The BJP is a party with a difference. I will not tolerate indiscipline," Annamalai had said.
In the private conversation that went viral on social media, Surya was heard intimidating Saran and even made lewd remarks.
Asked about the death threats allegedly issued by Surya to Saran, the BJP president insisted that stern disciplinary action would continue.
"Those who cross the Lakshman rekha will be punished this is only the beginning. This party belongs to everyone," he said.
Following the audio leak, the BJP stripped Surya Siva of the general secretary of OBC Morcha post and barred him from attending party events for six months, pending enquiry. Surya had joined the BJP in May this year.
On actress-politician Gayathri Raguramm's allegation that she was not invited for the Kashi Tamil Sangamam, a senior leader in the party said the BJP high command wanted to keep the party out of this heritage event.
"Those keen on attending the event were asked to come at their own expense, as the party did not organise the event," he claimed.
Gayathri Raghuramm also claimed that senior functionaries were being sidelined and new entrants were being encouraged.
Annamalai had announced her suspension from the party for six months for bringing disrepute to the BJP.
Asserting that the party has grown spectacularly to function as an effective opposition in Tamil Nadu, former Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan says the BJP has fair prospects at the hustings.
"As of now, the AIADMK is still in the NDA. Though there's still time for alliance, our central leadership will decide on it for the 2024 polls," Radhakrishnan said when asked about the alliance.
Apparently echoing the sentiments among the cadres, party president Annamalai had earlier remarked "I will convey to my leadership that my party has grown in Tamil Nadu and that it should contest alone."