After poor show, arguments in AIADMK, BJP over wrong script

Annamalai said when BJP was in alliance with the then ruling AIADMK in 2019, the BJP faced an unprecedented rout in TN despite winning 303 seats nationally.
AIADMK general secretary Edapadi K Palaniswami and other leaders with BJP state president K Annamalai when tie-up was intact between both parties
AIADMK general secretary Edapadi K Palaniswami and other leaders with BJP state president K Annamalai when tie-up was intact between both parties (File photo)

CHENNAI: With both AIADMK and BJP drawing a blank in the Lok Sabha election, some leaders of both parties have started arguing how an alliance between the friends-turned-foes could have changed the electoral outcome in Tamil Nadu.

Addressing reporters in Coimbatore, AIADMK leader and former minister SP Velumani accused BJP state president K Annamalai of playing spoilsport by snapping BJP’s ties with the AIADMK and claimed that had the poll alliance remained intact, the combine would have won 30-35 seats.

“The alliance with BJP went on smoothly till BJP had Tamilisai Soundararajan and L Murugan as their state presidents. After Annamalai took charge, he started criticising AIADMK and its leaders including former chief ministers CN Annadurai, J Jayalalithaa and Edappadi K Palaniswami. This forced us to break ties with the BJP,” he said.

Coming out in support of Velumani’s assertion, BJP leader and former governor Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan said, “Arithmetically what Velumani said is correct. The DMK-led alliance would not have been able to win even a single seat had the alliance between the AIADMK and BJP remained. It is obvious. The DMK did not win this election because of their governance. They won because the votes got scattered,” she said.

Annamalai, however, contradicted the opinion. He said when BJP was in alliance with the then ruling AIADMK in 2019, the BJP faced an unprecedented rout in TN despite winning 303 seats nationally. “The AIADMK could not win even a single seat. How could that party have won 35 seats in alliance? Velumani’s remarks indicate that there is an intra-party wrangling between him and Palaniswami. In this election, the Tamil Nadu people have rejected the AIADMK.”

Meanwhile, ousted AIADMK leaders O Panneerselvam and VK Sasikala have revived their call for a united AIADMK, and urged the cadre to come together so that AIADMK could be the ruling party again. But AIADMK immediately snubbed their calls.

While party general secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami is yet to respond to criticisms on poor performance, party sources said he is likely to convene a meeting of senior office-bearers, including district secretaries, headquarters office-bearers, MLAs and MPs to chalk out the next course of action.

Meanwhile, Panneerselvam, in a statement, said, “Breaking a single stick is easy while breaking a bunch of sticks is difficult. Even after this (kind of defeat), it is a sin to prepare the party cadre to accept defeat continuously.” Referring to an MGR song which reiterates unity, Panneerselvam said, “Let the 1.5 crore cadre get ready for making sacrifice to retrieve the party and capyure power again in Tamil Nadu.”

AIADMK deputy general secretary KP Munusamy retorted saying OPS had no locus standi to speak about the AIADMK. He said OPS attacked the AIADMK headquarters with the help of goons and approached the court to freeze the two leaves symbol. “Besides, he joined hands with Annamalai, who criticised AIADMK leaders including MGR and J Jayalalithaa. Above all, he contested against the two leaves symbol in Ramanathapuram. So, what right does he have to invite the AIADMK cadre? This is the view of every AIADMK cadre as well as that of the party general secretary,” he added.

On Sasikala’s statement, Munusamy said no AIADMK functionary visited Sasikala since the announcement of Lok Sabha results despite her call. Stating that there were efforts to create confusion among the AIADMK cadre, he said the party has improved its vote share from 18 % in 2019 to 20.46 % in 2024 despite not having many alliance partners.

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