Tamilisai responds to viral video, says Amit Shah asked about post-poll followup

The video clip was interpreted by many as a ‘stern’ and very public warning to Tamilisai Soundararajan regarding the ongoing in-fighting within the Tamil Nadu BJP.
Home Minister Amit Shah speaking to TN BJP leader Tamilisai Soundararajan.
Home Minister Amit Shah speaking to TN BJP leader Tamilisai Soundararajan.
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Two days after widespread speculations, BJP leader Tamilisai Soundararajan has issued a statement on the viral video clip in which Home Minister Amit Shah appears to be admonishing her. Explaining the exchange, Tamilisai said on Friday, June 14 that Shah, “...called me to ask about post-poll followup and the challenges faced. As I was elaborating, due to paucity of time and with utmost concern, he advised me to carry out the political and constituency work intensively which was reassuring. This is to clarify all unwarranted speculations.” 

Tamilisai’s statement comes in the wake of a video clip from the swearing-in ceremony of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu held on June 12. The swearing-in ceremony was attended by senior NDA leaders, including Prime Minister Narendera Modi, Amit Shah, JP Nadda, Nitin Gadkari, Nitish Kumar, and many others. In the clip, Tamilisai is seen greeting Amit Shah on stage before walking past him, when he calls her back. While there is no audio, Shah can be seen shaking his head and finger at Tamilisai while speaking to her, seemingly displeased. Tamilisai appears to attempt to reply to the Home Minister, but he can be seen talking over her. The incident was interpreted by many as a ‘stern’ and very public warning to Tamilisai regarding the ongoing in-fighting in the Tamil Nadu BJP. 

After the BJP and its regional allies drew a blank in Tamil Nadu in recently held the general elections, a war of words erupted between loyalists of Tamilisai and BJP state president K Annamalai on social media. Though both leaders lost in their respective constituencies of South Chennai and Coimbatore, a faction of the Tamil Nadu BJP have been blaming Annamalai for the defeat and for the alliance break with the AIADMK. Tamilisai, who had served as the state BJP president from 2014 to 2019, said during an interview to a news channel after the election results that she had had a different “yardstick” from Annamalai regarding who was inducted into the party. She also added that “anti-social elements” had now entered the Tamil Nadu BJP. 

The interview led to Tiruchy Suriyaa, state general secretary of the BJP’s OBC Morcha, criticising her for comments. Suriyaa is also known to be close to Annamalai. Meanwhile, SG Suryah, the BJP’s state general secretary, was seen attempting to quell the public in-fighting. “Anyone differing from his [Annamalai] views, from seniors to juniors (many are sharing in media and social media making it very uncomfortable to defend in TV studios and elsewhere), please share your grievances in the appropriate political forum.”

The video clip with Amit Shah and Tamilisai also drew flak from the Opposition with the Congress and DMK criticising the Home Minister.

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