The bold statement by BJP State President of Tamil Nadu K Annamalai that BJP will directly lock horns with DMK in the state has indirectly marginalised its former ally, AIADMK, which is the primary opposition party in the state. The move sends a clear signal that the TN BJP is confident of winning on its own and quashes speculations of AIADMK rejoining the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) after the polls.
Health Concerns Don’t Deter Annamalai
Despite medical advice to take bed rest, Annamalai attended an internal party meeting in Chennai. He used this opportunity to brief the media on his recent meetings with party seniors in Delhi. This marked the first meeting with the state BJP office-bearers since AIADMK’s departure from the NDA.
Annamalai revealed that Prime Minister Modi had spoken to him over the phone to inquire about his health and advised him to come to Delhi for rest.
BJP’s Focus on Strengthening Party’s Position
Annamalai emphasized, “My focus is to strengthen the BJP, and the party cadres share the same commitment.” He reiterated that Narendra Modi will be the prime ministerial candidate for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, and the BJP’s aim is to bolster the NDA. In Tamil Nadu, the electoral contest is framed as the BJP versus the DMK.
Annamalai pointed out that winning elections no longer depends solely on alliances, as the political landscape has evolved. He noted that the BJP governed at the center for ten years, while the DMK would have ruled Tamil Nadu for 35 months by the time of the election. Both parties will enter the electoral fray with their performance records, questioning and being answerable to each other.
Regarding alliances, Annamalai stated that the party’s decision would be revealed at an appropriate time. He expressed hope that many NDA alliance candidates in Tamil Nadu would emerge victorious in the polls. He remained unfazed by AIADMK’s exit from the NDA fold, emphasizing his focus on strengthening the BJP.
Targeting Discontentment and Empowering Women
The BJP intends to capitalize on widespread discontentment among women family heads who were denied the DMK government’s Rs 1000 monthly assistance under the Kalaignar Mahilir Urimai Thittam. They also plan to highlight PM Modi’s women empowerment schemes, including the recent 33 percent reservation for women in Parliament and state assemblies. BJP workers have been tasked with identifying eligible women and convincing them to vote for the party.
The BJP is also banking on the younger generation, first-time voters, and those seeking an alternative to both the DMK and AIADMK.
In response, AIADMK General Secretary Edappadi Palaniswami affirmed their strong decision to sever ties with the BJP. He emphasised that the decision was not made under pressure but was a unanimous one based on the sentiments of the party’s cadres. Palaniswami reiterated their commitment to prioritizing Tamil Nadu’s welfare and representing the voice of minorities, indicating that the wishes of the minority communities also align with ending the relationship with the BJP.