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IndiaLok Sabha 2024: What’s happening in Tamil Nadu and ‘who’s that’ Aannamalai

Lok Sabha 2024: What’s happening in Tamil Nadu and ‘who’s that’ Aannamalai


Chandigarh, Apr 11: The in Tamil Nadu—the southern state, which the BJP has not been able to impact so far—are being watched keenly by observers and one of the reasons also is saffron party's state president K Annamalai, an Engineer, MBA, and former IPS officer and now its Coimbatore candidate.

Recently, his name also found mention in the speech of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who slammed DMK, saying that Annamalai's “insult” by senior DMK leader (read Dayanidhi Maran) will resonate in Tamil Nadu results.

Maran had questioned Annamalai's antecedents saying “who is that” and called him a “joker”. In turn Annamalai said Maran was “useless without his family's surname”. “If you remove this word Maran from his name he will not even get a job in any place. He is totally, totally useless without his family surname,” he was quoted as saying.

Battle for Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu sends as many as 39 MPs to the Lok Sabha.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the alliance led by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam won 38 of the 39 seats there.

In 2024, the battle for Tamil Nadu can be summarised as the DMK's bid to retain 38 seats it won, former NDA ally and rival All Anna Dravidian Progressive Federation (AIADMK) struggle to remain relevant in absence of charismatic leader J Jayalaithaa and the BJP's desire to dislodge traditional Dravidian parties controlling the state's for decades.

Some opinion polls are suggesting an improved vote share for the saffron party in the state.

PM Modi has made multiple visits to the state in the past few months, targeting both the ruling DMK and its ally Congress on issues related to “corruption” and keeping people in the “dark” on Katchatheevu.

Who is Aannamalai, why is PM taking his name?

In one such rally, one of the many he has undertaken to fulfill his target of 370 Lok Sabha seats for the for BJP and 400 plus for NDA alliance, PM Modi slammed Maran for calling Annamalai a “joker”, adding that “answer to such arrogance will come from the people of Tamil Nadu when they vote against DMK”.

“When a big DMK leader was asked about our youth leader Annamalai he was so blinded by pride that he asked ‘who is Annamalai'… And then used an insulting word that actually describes DMK's character,” PM Modi was quoted as saying.

Thirty nine-year-old Annamalai is making his Lok Sabha election debut from Coimbatore but this is not his first election.

In the last Assembly elections, he lost to a DMK candidate in Aravakurichi.

Annamalai joined the BJP in 2020, but before he took the political plunge he already had the reputation of a supercop and was also called ‘Singham anna' because of his style of working.

In his career as a police officer, Annamalai reportedly led undercover crackdowns on gutka sales and drug abuse.

Apparently, he decided to quit IPS after a trip to Kailash Mansarovar.

He became the youngest BJP president in Tamil Nadu in 2021 and started gaining prominence because of his oratory skills.

In 2023, he also led a yatra across the state which was praised by PM Modi.

“In Annamalai the BJP senses an opportunity to dent the monopoly of Dravadian parties—the DMK, AIADMK et al in the state. The BJP needs young, aggressive Tamil leaders and the former IPS officer fits that bill,” say observers

Fight for survival

Last year, the AIADMK's decision to quit NDA was read as a “major setback for BJP's southern plans, especially Tamil Nadu”.

Even the unanimous resolution passed at a high-level meeting chaired by party president E Palaniswami appeared directed at Annamalai.

“With an ulterior motive, the BJP state leadership deliberately defamed Aringar Anna (Annadurai) and late party matriarch J Jayalalithaa as well as incumbent party chief Palaniswami.

“Such malicious, wanton criticism targeting the AIADMK has been going on for a year and has led to deep resentment and outrage among our cadres and office-bearers,” the resolution read.

However, there appeared other reasons for the break-up and one was the bid to remain politically relevant in the state. The party passed through tumultuous times, including infighting, after the death of Jayalalitha, losing relevance in the state politics.

Though according to DMK leaders, AIADMK and BJP are still in an “unholy alliance” and in many constituencies AIADMK cadres were “working for the BJP”.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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