It’s DMK vs BJP in Coimbatore as Annamalai gets BJP ticket

TNM, in its Power Trip on March 1, had reported that the party high command had insisted that Annamalai should contest from Karur or Coimbatore.
BJP candidates Tamilisai Soundarrajan, Pon Radhakrishnan and K Annamalai
BJP candidates Tamilisai Soundarrajan, Pon Radhakrishnan and K Annamalai
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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided to field its state president K Annamalai from Coimbatore for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The decision was announced on Thursday, March 21.

Former Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundarajan will contest from Chennai South. Senior BJP leader and former Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan will contest from Kanniyakumari, Minister of State L Murugan from Nilgiris (SC), BJP legislative party leader Nainar Nagendran from Tirunelveli, Vinoj P Selvam from Chennai Central and C Narasimhan from Krishnagiri. Indhiya Jananayaga Katchi (IJK) Chief TR Paarivendhar will contest from Perambalur while AC Shanmugam will be fielded in Vellore. IJK is an ally of BJP.

TNM’s political newsletter Power Trip, on March 1, had written about BJP’s national leadership insistance that Annamalai should contest from Karur or Coimbatore. TNM had also learnt that Annamalai had done a benchmark survey in Pollachi and Coimbatore constituencies. The survey said that he would get 14% of the votes in Pollachi and 18% in Coimbatore. Annamalai will be facing DMK’s Ganapathy Rajkumar and AIADMK’s Singai Ramachandran in Coimbatore.

The former IPS officer had however been resisting the high command’s plan to field him in the Lok Sabha elections by stating that his focus was on the 2026 Tamil Nadu Assembly elections. 

In Chennai South Tamilisai Soundarajan will contest against sitting MP Tamizhachi Thangapandian of the DMK alliance and J Jayavardhan of the AIADMK. Pon Radhakrishnan, who won from the Kanniyakumari constituency in 2014, will be facing a Congress candidate in this election.

DMK Vs BJP in Coimbatore

The INDIA bloc had been waiting for BJP’s list as leaders from the western zone of the DMK had urged party president MK Stalin to not allot the Coimbatore seat to any ally till the BJP announces its candidate. The DMK wanted to take on Annamalai and not allot the seat to an ally. Both the CPI(M), which won from this seat in 2019, and Kamal Haasan wanted to contest from Coimbatore.  

Annamalai had recently completed his six-month long ‘En Mann, En Makkal’ (my land, my people) padayatra, which was flagged off in July 2023 from Rameshwaram by Union Home Minister Amit Shah. The closing ceremony was held in Palladam near Tiruppur, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated.

The former IPS officer joined the BJP in August 2020, when he called himself a ‘loyal foot soldier of the party’.  

Since he joined BJP, Annamalai has been at the centre of several controversies in Tamil Nadu.

In July 2021, Annamalai faced a massive scandal involving state general secretary KT Raghavan. Former journalist, BJP member and confidante of Annamalai, Madan Ravichandran released a video of Raghavan allegedly asking sexual favours from a woman party worker. Madan claimed he had proof to show at least 15 other senior party leaders were involved in similar issues. 

In January 2022, 17-year-old Lavanya died in Thanjavur district, following which her parents and the BJP alleged that she died by suicide after she was under pressure to convert to Christianity. It was Annamalai who rallied the party leaders to work closely with the VHP to politicise the incident. 

A series of four audio tapes was released by Annamalai, through which he alleged that the DMK government was involved in corruption. Titled ‘DMK files’, he claimed that the assets listed in part one of the audio tapes, purportedly worth Rs 1.34 lakh crore, are owned by 12 individuals including Stalin’s family members and other senior leaders.

 Read: Annamalai and the art of political gymnastics

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