Explainer: Decoding factors behind AIADMK 'breaking all ties' with BJP-led NDA ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha polls
The AIADMK's significant decision to exit the BJP-led alliance, citing internal discord and controversial remarks, reshapes Tamil Nadu's political landscape ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) made a significant announcement on Monday, declaring its departure from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and its intention to establish a separate front for the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha elections. This decision by the AIADMK sent shockwaves through the political landscape as preparations for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections were underway.
KP Munusamy, a prominent former minister and leader within the AIADMK, addressed reporters to convey the unanimous resolution reached by the party to sever ties with the NDA and forge a coalition with like-minded parties for the forthcoming elections.
“The BJP state leadership has been making derogatory statements against the AIADMK, our leaders, Anna and Amma (late chief ministers C N Annadurai and J Jayalalithaa) wantonly and deliberately and criticising the AIADMK principles,” the resolution said, setting the tone for the break-up.
The resolution highlighted that the BJP leadership had disparaged the significant AIADMK conference held in Madurai on August 20 and had maligned the leadership of Edappadi K. Palaniswami, who steers the party with a massive cadre base of two crore members. The AIADMK cited this as the cause of unrest among its cadres and functionaries, justifying its decision to sever ties with the BJP, out of respect for the sentiments of its members.
The AIADMK announced its intention to lead an alliance and contest the upcoming 2024 general elections, as conveyed by Munusamy.
Throughout the announcement, jubilant party members frequently interrupted with celebratory fireworks and slogans.
State BJP president K. Annamalai refrained from commenting on the AIADMK's decision to terminate the alliance. He mentioned that he was currently engaged in a padayatra in Coimbatore and preferred not to discuss politics during the yatra. Annamalai indicated that the party's national leadership would address this matter at a more suitable time, stating, "I will talk later," to reporters.
Brief historical context
Originally, the AIADMK and BJP forged an alliance during the 1998 general elections, successfully securing 30 out of 39 seats in Tamil Nadu. However, internal disputes among their leaders led to a souring of this partnership. By 1999, tensions had escalated to the point where then-Chief Minister Jayalalithaa expressed her dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee for not meeting her demands. Consequently, the alliance fractured, and Jayalalithaa even hosted a tea party with Sonia Gandhi, signifying a significant political shift.
In 1999, the AIADMK formed an alliance with the Congress to challenge the DMK-BJP alliance in the general elections, where the latter secured 26 out of 39 seats. However, the DMK later withdrew from the alliance, and the BJP did not renew its partnership with the AIADMK.
Throughout the years, the AIADMK and BJP entered into alliances on multiple occasions, yet these collaborations often yielded limited electoral success. Their most recent partnership, during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, resulted in a resounding defeat for both parties. The AIADMK's loss to the DMK in the 2021 assembly elections marked the end of its decade-long rule in the state.
BJP-AIADMK Alliance breakdown after prolonged discord
The AIADMK and the NDA had maintained a two-decade-long alliance, but in recent years, signs of strain emerged, ultimately leading to its dissolution in 2023. Several factors contributed to the alliance's breakdown. The most recent trigger for tension between the two parties was the controversial remarks made by Tamil Nadu BJP president K Annamalai concerning the late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister C N Annadurai.
Controversial comments about CN Annadurai:
Annamalai's comments alleged that CN Annadurai, a former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and a prominent figure in Dravidian politics, had insulted Hinduism at an event in Madurai in 1956. These remarks incited outrage among Dravidian parties and their supporters, including the AIADMK, which demanded an apology from Annamalai and the BJP. However, the BJP refused to comply with this demand, further intensifying tensions between the two parties.
Contentious BJP State President Annamalai
A major point of contention within the alliance centered around the BJP's state president, Annamalai, who assumed the role in 2021. This former dynamic IPS officer, known for his outspoken nature, frequently clashed with the AIADMK. His direct statements, such as proclaiming, "As long as I'm alive, no one can view the BJP in Tamil Nadu as a junior partner in an alliance," and declaring, "I'm not pursuing positions; I'm here to establish the BJP as the governing party in Tamil Nadu," often provoked the AIADMK.
Disagreements over Erode East Assembly Bypoll
In 2023, the AIADMK and the BJP found themselves at odds over seat sharing in the Erode East Assembly bypoll. The AIADMK announced its candidate without prior consultation with the BJP, resulting in the BJP accusing the AIADMK of arrogance and betrayal, further straining their relationship.
During 2023, both the AIADMK and the BJP engaged in several poaching wars, with each party attempting to lure leaders and members from the other. This aggressive competition created additional bitterness and mistrust between the two former allies.
Unsuccessful Meetings in Delhi
Efforts were made to reconcile the differences between the two parties through meetings held in Delhi involving senior leaders from the AIADMK and the BJP. However, these meetings failed to produce any concrete resolutions.