No rift with AIADMK, but not up to me to endorse Palaniswami as CM candidate in 2026: Annamalai 

TN BJP chief Annamalai stands by his statement that C.N. Annadurai felt was intimidated by Forward Bloc leader Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar and apologised to him in 1956.

September 21, 2023 10:28 pm | Updated September 27, 2023 09:57 am IST - COIMBATORE

BJP Tamil Nadu president K. Annamalai. File photo

BJP Tamil Nadu president K. Annamalai. File photo | Photo Credit: M. Srinath

Days after AIADMK leader D. Jayakumar declared his “party’s view” that the BJP was no longer its ally in Tamil Nadu, BJP State president K. Annamalai on Thursday said there was no rift between the two parties. At the same time, he said as the State president [of the national party], he was not in a position to endorse AIADMK general secretary Edappadi K. Palaniswami as the Chief Ministerial candidate [in 2026] and that was a call to be taken by the BJP national leadership.

He also refused to apologise for his claims that Dravidian stalwart C.N. Annadurai felt intimidated by Forward Bloc leader Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar and apologised to him in 1956.

“There is no problem between me and the AIADMK or between the BJP and the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu,” he told journalists in Coimbatore. Noting that certain second line leaders of the AIADMK had spoken critically of him, he said: “Do some AIADMK leaders have a problem with Annamalai? Maybe. I do not know.”

According to him, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a catalyst and a central figure of the alliance. “All those who accept his leadership are in this alliance [NDA]. The AIADMK has accepted it. So, I do not see any problem.”

Referring to the remarks of former AIADMK Minister Sellur Raju in Madurai that the AIADMK believed in “Modi at the Centre and Edappadi in Tamil Nadu”, Mr. Annamalai said he was not in a position to comment about the latter part as only the national leadership could decide on it.

Divergence in views of political parties need not be viewed seriously, he said, adding: “I did my part as the State BJP unit head and there is nothing personal. If I were to meet the AIADMK leaders tomorrow, I will deal with them with the same respect and courtesy.”

“I was made the State unit head with a purpose. The leadership knows my actions will continue with renewed vigour and aggression,” he said, adding that in Tamil Nadu, there was a huge space for a third political party.

On his comments about Annadurai, which had renewed the hostilities between the BJP and AIADMK, he claimed that certain history teachers who were aware of the developments had endorsed his remarks on the 1956 incident. Hence, he will not apologise. According to him, former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi had also recalled the incident at a railway function in Chennai in 1998. Notwithstanding a report published on Thursday in The Hindu based on the 1956 archives, in which there was no record of Annadurai having apologised to Thevar, the BJP leader said the archival reports were clear about this.

He denied the charge of ulterior motives behind the proposed delimitation exercise to redraw the Lok Sabha constituencies.

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