Chennai: The BJP’s Tamil Nadu unit is in a crisis with several old warhorses in the party up in arms against state President K. Annamalai, while the Brahmin lobby, which has been extending its support to the party, is unhappy at his actions including his arrogant behaviour towards party cadres and even senior leaders.
While Annamalai has gained support from the masses due to his several high-profile programmes, there is all round dissatisfaction against the functioning style of the former IPS officer who had quit his police job and jumped into the state BJP.
Sources in the BJP told IANS that Annamalai and former state president and Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, L. Murugan don’t see eye to eye. Murugan is a seasoned politician and has reached the BJP higher echelons through his work from the ABVP days.
Murugan, as state President of the BJP, had given the party a semblance of respect by taking out the ‘Vel Murugan’ programmes across the state is not happy with the functioning style of Annamalai. While Annamalai is enjoying the support and blessings of the BJP’s General Secretary, Organisation, B.L. Santhosh, the senior leaders of the party in the state are not throwing their weight behind him.
His move for a Tamil Dravidian model for the BJP state unit was not accepted well by the upper castes who have been the traditional support base for the saffron party.
Talking to IANS, a senior state BJP leader, who did not want to be named, said: “The BJP cannot shy of its roots and if the party is converted into a Dravidian model, it means that we are drifting away from the core ideology and this cannot be accepted.”
He also said that Annamalai was very arrogant and was behaving with even senior leaders who had built the party from scratch in an arrogant manner. This has also not gone down well with many party leaders.
Another major factor is the RSS which is the support base for the BJP in any state as the ideological powerhouse of the party. In Tamil Nadu, a major number of RSS Karyakartas or office bearers are from the Brahmin community and the move to totally antagonise the Brahmins has not gone down well with the RSS also.
The recent outbursts of actor-turned-politician Gayatri Raghuram, who was a state office bearer of the party, against Annamalai have not also gone down well with the senior leaders. She had alleged that women are not safe in Tamil Nadu BJP under Annamalai.
The exit of Tiruchi Suriya, son of the powerful DMK leader and Member of Parliament, Tiruchi Siva, from the BJP is not also accepted by the party’s senior leaders. Tiruchi Suriya was brought to the BJP by Annamalai but after a series of issues, he quit the party.
The senior leaders are of the belief that the exit of Tiruchi Suriya and Gayathri Raghuram from the BJP has dealt a major blow to the party among the public.
With the AIADMK fractured after the expulsion of O. Panneerselvam and other senior leaders, the BJP had a golden opportunity to occupy the main opposition space.
However, a senior BJP leader told IANS that “the BJP has lost the opportunity to be the main opposition as the party in itself is divided in the state. This was a golden opportunity for the BJP to enter into the mainstream of Tamil Nadu politics but seems to have squandered the chance.”