Erode (East) bypoll | AIADMK is ‘being cautious’ towards BJP: Ponnaiyan

When asked whether his observation would not send out a wrong message, Mr. Ponnaiyan said a question posed to him had prompted such a response.

Updated - February 06, 2023 12:13 pm IST

Published - February 03, 2023 07:24 pm IST - CHENNAI

C. Ponnaiyan. File

C. Ponnaiyan. File | Photo Credit: RAGU R

Immediately after BJP State president K. Annamalai and national general secretary C.T. Ravi called on AIADMK interim general secretary Edappadi K. Palaniswami, former Minister and MGR Mandram secretary C. Ponnaiyan on Friday said his party was “being cautious” towards the BJP. 

At an interaction with journalists at the mausoleum of former Chief Minister C.N. Annadurai on the Marina, Mr. Ponnaiyan, replying to a question whether the BJP was seeking a patch-up between the AIADMK and the group led by the deposed coordinator, O. Panneerselvam, said “people, you [the media] and we all know how the BJP grabbed power in north India where its allies were in power and how their regimes crashed.  We are being cautious.”

To another question whether or not the National Democratic Alliance was in existence in the State, Mr. Ponnaiyan shot back, “Even in the local bodies elections [held in February last year], the BJP contested on its own. There is no meaning to this question.”

However, he said, “Just as people are with us, the BJP too can be with us.  It can work for us. Let us wait.”  He was answering a question whether the BJP was a threat to the AIADMK.

To another question, he said all parties, barring the DMK, were free to work with his party. 

Later, in a chat with The Hindu,  when asked whether his observation about his party “being careful” towards the BJP would send out a wrong message, Mr. Ponnaiyan said the question posed to him had prompted such a response.

On the meeting between Mr. Palaniswami and the BJP emissaries, a senior leader said the latter did not convey any position with regard to expressing support to the AIADMK’s candidate in the Erode (East) Assembly by-election.    

A leader of the Panneerselvam camp said the deposed coordinator explained to the BJP’s leaders the sequence of events in the party, from the election of himself and Mr. Palaniswami as coordinator and co-coordinator in December 2021 to his expulsion from the party in July 2022.  The meeting was “fruitful.”

Separately, AIADMK former interim general secretary V.K. Sasikala said time had come for all to work together. 

AMMK general secretary T.T.V. Dhinakaran, asked whether he would support efforts to put up a combined Opposition candidate in the by-election, answered that while it was a “good idea” to have such a contestant, one had to wait and see how events unfolded. 

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