Former AIADMK minister D Jayakumar said there is no alliance between the AIADMK and the BJP at all, but that any final decision would be taken in time for next year’s elections. He also insisted that he was only reflecting the sentiments widely shared within his party. Sources in the AIADMK say that Jayakumar made the announcement only after receiving a nod from the party high command.
The war of words between BJP’s Tamil Nadu unit president K Annamalai and some leaders in the AIADMK seems to have resulted in the latest outburst from Jayakumar. Reacting strongly to Annamalai’s repeated jibes, Jayakumar scoffed that the BJP state chief would not be able to go past NOTA if he contested without an alliance. Recalling his previous remarks on Dravidian leaders, including late J Jayalalithaa and the DMK founder CN Annadurai, Jayakumar said, “Annamalai doesn’t desire an alliance with the AIADMK although other BJP workers want it. Should we tolerate all this criticism of our leaders? BJP can’t set foot here (Tamil Nadu) if we are not with them. As far as the alliance is concerned, it is not there. BJP is not with AIADMK. But it can all be decided only during elections, and that is the party’s stand.”
AIADMK leaders are upset with Annamalai’s statement made during a protest rally in Chennai on September 11, wherein he claimed that former Chief Minister CN Annadurai had made a critical remark against the Hindu faith at a programme in Madurai in the 1950s and had been promptly rebutted by noted freedom fighter Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar. AIADMK leaders reacted saying there was no evidence to back the BJP leader’s claim.
Annamalai could come across as someone who has a significant influence in the Tamil Nadu BJP unit, following the party's decent performance in the local body polls and his statewide padayatra, which created a buzz in the state. All of this also gives a certain impression that the BJP is growing in the state. Meanwhile, Annamalai sniping at the Dravidian movement, forgetting that the party’s key ally itself is born of the same lineage, might get him into hot water with the high command – after all, without the support of the AIADMK, there is little chance of the BJP’s remaining relevant in the state.
It is to be noted that in April 2023, the AIADMK and the BJP had announced an alliance for the 2024 general elections after Union Home Minister Amit Shah and AIADMK general secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami met in Delhi. The declaration was made after both parties decided to reconcile despite Annamalai’s frequent bashing of “the political culture prevailing in the state”, indirectly blaming the AIADMK too.
The BJP and the AIADMK had joined hands during the 2021 Tamil Nadu Assembly elections. While the BJP had contested in 20 seats as part of the alliance, it won four, ensuring its party MLAs entered the Assembly for the first time in 20 years. The two parties were allies during the 2019 Lok Sabha poll too.