Bharatiya Janata Party State president K. Annamalai on Sunday announced on social media that he would be starting a padayatra soon throughout Tamil Nadu to meet the people of the State.
Sources in the BJP said Mr. Annamalai’s padayatra was likely to commence in April 2023 and finish ahead of the Lok Sabha election in 2024.
The yatra, spanning around one year, would happen in two phases with a gap of about 100 to 120 days between each.
The yatra will be designed to cover all 234 Assembly constituencies in the State with extensive interactions with the public, the sources added.
Reacting to an indirect criticism levelled by Minister for Electricity V. Senthilbalaji of the DMK regarding an expensive watch worn by Mr. Annamalai (without naming the BJP leader), the latter said he would reveal every detail about his wealth while commencing the yatra, and challenged leaders of the DMK to do the same.
Mr. Senthilbalaji, through social media, questioned how a person “who claimed to own only four goats” wore an expensive “French-made” watch that was, according to him, worth over ₹5 lakh.
In an interaction with the media, Mr. Annamalai said he wore the watch as a “nationalist” since it was a special edition watch made with the material that is used in Rafale fighter jets.
He said the French-made jets, procured by India, were a “treasure” for the country as they had changed the “rules of war” and India’s reach in high-altitude warfare. While he was unfortunately not in a position to fly a Rafale jet, he would wear the watch till he lived.
Later, through a series of tweets, Mr. Annamalai said he would release details about purchase of the watch, which he bought in May 2021 before becoming the BJP State president, and every other information regarding his income, bank accounts, assets and the cattle he owned.
He said he would give all his properties to the government if anybody could find even one extra paisa of wealth that was not declared by him. He asked whether leaders of the DMK would be willing to release such information to the people of Tamil Nadu.