After huge setback in TN, BJP workers want party to rethink its poll strategy

Sources said while most of the state unit’s senior leaders dislike Annamalai’s approach, the youth functionaries are firmly behind him.
TN BJP president K Annamalai
TN BJP president K AnnamalaiFile photo

CHENNAI: A silent churn is under way in the state unit of the BJP, in the aftermath of the saffron party’s underwhelming performance in the polls nationally and in TN, with several party functionaries expressing the need to rethink its strategy.

As soon as it became clear the party was drawing a blank in TN despite the tall claims made by state president K Annamalai, functionaries started saying that if the alliance with AIADMK had continued, BJP would have won a sizeable number of seats in TN.

Sources said while most of the state unit’s senior leaders dislike Annamalai’s approach, the youth functionaries are firmly behind him. They are convinced he will help the BJP’s prospects in the long term.

Annamalai, since becoming the president of the state unit, has vociferously opposed Dravidian politics to the point that the party’s alliance with the AIADMK was sorely tested on multiple occasions before finally giving way. His En Mann En Makkal yatra took him to each Assembly constituency and was a morale booster for the party here. He also enjoyed the full backing of the central leadership.

Annamalai, however, seemed unfazed by the results in his press conference at the party headquarters on Wednesday. While he conceded the unit’s defeat in TN, he pointed out that the party had increased its vote share. “I secured around 4.5 lakh votes in Coimbatore without giving money to voters. We aimed 25% vote share. But we could not do that. Now, we have made inroads into the constituencies where we never had a foothold,” Annamalai said. Taking a jibe at the AIADMK, he said that in Coimbatore, it barely managed to retain its deposit.

Senior journalist T Sigamani said the party could not claim its 11.24% vote share as a sign of its strength as it included the share of its allies. “The 11.24% share also includes votes polled by many candidates due to their own personal popularity,” he said.

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