The Tamil Nadu BJP has urged the DMK-led government, headed by Chief Minister MK Stalin, to adhere to democratic norms and grant permission for Annamalai’s “En Maan An Makkal Yatra” in all constituencies in Chennai. The government, after employing various strategies to hinder the yatra, has now denied permission in Chennai, citing potential traffic bottlenecks and inconvenience to the public.
The yatra, which commenced on July 29, has garnered significant success throughout its journey across all 234 assembly constituencies. Despite its positive reception, the DMK government’s refusal to permit the yatra in Chennai has raised concerns and drawn criticism from the Tamil Nadu BJP.
In the final leg of the “En Maan An Makkal Yatra,” organised by the Tamil Nadu BJP, the concluding public meeting is scheduled to take place at Palladam in Tirupur district on February 25, featuring Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the keynote speaker. The event is anticipated to draw a massive crowd, with an estimated 10 lakh supporters expected to attend, making it the largest political gathering in Tamil Nadu.
However, the DMK-led government has allegedly attempted to impede the yatra’s progress. Chief Minister M K Stalin reportedly warned industrial bodies against supporting the yatra, citing intelligence reports that indicated their enthusiastic participation and substantial financial contributions.
Adding to the challenges, the Chennai police have denied permission for the yatra in all 22 assembly constituencies, citing concerns about severe congestion if the event proceeds.
— The New Indian Express (@NewIndianXpress) February 9, 2024
In response to the obstacles faced by the “En Maan An Makkal Yatra” organised by the Tamil Nadu BJP, party spokesperson ANS Prasad issued a statement reiterating the yatra’s resilience and the unwavering support for its objectives. Prasad emphasised that despite the efforts of the DMK, the yatra led by Annamalai continues to gain popularity, and attempts to hinder his ascent to the Chief Minister’s chair will be futile.
Annamalai, born into a middle-class farmer’s family in a drought-hit area, pursued his education at PSG College in Engineering and IIM, Lucknow. Despite a promising career in the IPS, including potential positions like DGP of Karnataka and Director of CBI, he chose to resign from the police force to serve the public through politics. The yatra, aimed at ending dynastic rule and bringing about political transformation, has exceeded expectations, garnering massive support in all the constituencies it traversed.
Prasad highlighted Annamalai’s acceptance as a capable leader, resonating with youths, students, and the public who view him as the right person to guide and lead Tamil Nadu. The yatra, despite facing challenges orchestrated by the DMK government, has successfully covered over 200 assembly constituencies and is set to conclude in another fortnight.
The spokesperson noted that the DMK government, particularly concerned about Annamalai’s popularity and the potential impact on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, has been employing various means to obstruct the yatra. Denying permission for the yatra to enter the Greater Chennai Corporation area limits is seen as a strategic move to curb its influence.
Prasad argued that the yatra’s reception in the cosmopolitan Chennai Corporation areas, characterised by a diverse population, poses a significant threat to the DMK’s political calculus. The spokesperson contended that allowing the yatra to proceed in these areas could elevate Annamalai’s popularity, potentially resulting in a higher number of seats for the BJP in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
State BJP Vice President Karu Nagarajan announced that the yatra would proceed as planned, albeit with alterations due to the denial of permission for a public meeting at Mint in North Chennai, where party’s national president JP Nadda was scheduled to participate.
Nagarajan stated that Nadda would instead walk a short distance alongside Annamalai, the leader of the yatra, in either the Anna Nagar or Harbour assembly segments. Despite the alteration in plans, the BJP remains resolute in its determination to carry out the yatra and connect with the people of Chennai.
Meanwhile, ANS Prasad, spokesperson for the TN BJP, reiterated the yatra’s peaceful nature, highlighting the absence of any untoward incidents or violence since its commencement on July 29. Prasad emphasised that the yatra has been conducted with utmost regard for public convenience, with no traffic jams or disruptions reported along its routes. He further underscored Annamalai’s respect for religious sentiments, citing instances where he halted his speech for the Azaan and visited a church despite opposition from certain quarters.
Prasad emphasised the broad-based acceptance of Annamalai, noting the enthusiastic participation of people from minority communities who interacted with him during the yatra. He urged the DMK government to reconsider its decision and permit the yatra to proceed in all 22 assembly constituencies of Chennai, emphasising the party’s commitment to democratic principles.
However, the decision to proceed with the yatra despite police denial sets the stage for a potential standoff tomorrow. With the possibility of police intervention, including arrests or detentions of assembled leaders and participants, the situation may escalate, leading to unforeseen developments.
The BJP’s unwavering stance underscores its determination to mobilise public support and convey its message to the people of Chennai, despite facing obstacles from the state government. As tensions mount and the standoff unfolds, the outcome of tomorrow’s events remains uncertain, with potential implications for the political landscape of Tamil Nadu.