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Amit Shah 'warns' Tamilisai to toe party line over criticism of Tamil Nadu BJP under Annamalai

Sources said Shah was upset with the former governor’s statements on the functioning of the state BJP unit, including the party inducting 'people with criminal background', which she made during an interview.
Last Updated : 12 June 2024, 13:40 IST

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Chennai: The open war in Tamil Nadu BJP over its performance in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections played out on the sidelines of the swearing-in ceremony of TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu as Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister in Vijayawada on Wednesday.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah was seen “warning” former Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, who lost from Chennai (South) in the recent polls, on the dais. The 'warning' captured by video cameras comes in the backdrop of a war of words on social media between supporters of Soundararajan and Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai over the former’s criticism of the latter.

Sources said Shah was upset with the former Governor’s statements on the functioning of the Tamil Nadu BJP, including the party inducting “people with criminal background”, made during an interview to a leading Tamil newspaper.

“He asked her not to go public on party matters in the media. The message is clear. Not just to her but to everyone,” a source said.

Video footage showed Soundararajan greeting former Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Shah after which the latter calls her and talks to her in an angry tone. Even as Soundararajan tried to explain her stand, the Home Minister looked like he was in no mood to listen to her and was seen wagging his finger at her and shaking his head in disapproval.

Soundararajan, on her arrival in Chennai, didn’t speak to the waiting media, while Karthik Gopinath, a close aide of Annamalai, tweeted: “That looks like a strong admonishment from Amit shah ji to Tamilisai akka . But what could be the reason for this “public” warning? Unwarranted public comments?”

The video went viral on social media, which has been witnessing an intense exchange of words between supporters of Soundararajan and Annamalai. The Lok Sabha election results which saw the BJP alliance biting the dust prompted Soundararajan to say that the party would have won a good number of seats if it had aligned with the AIADMK and virtually blamed Annamalai for the breakup of the AIADMK-BJP alliance.

Days later, Soundararajan, while criticising the state unit on a host of issues, said she never inducted people with “criminal background” into the party while “such people” are allowed to join now, in what was seen as a direct attack on Annamalai. The comments triggered an ugly exchange of barbs on social media between supporters of the two leaders who don’t enjoy a good rapport.

Soundararajan, who was Tamil Nadu BJP chief between 2014 and 2019, had also blamed Annamalai for getting the strategy wrong for the 2024 polls. Her criticism of Annamalai wasn’t taken lightly by the state unit which fielded state secretary, S G Suryah, to remind Soundararajan that the state chief was the 'supreme decision maker' of the Tamil Nadu unit.

“Anyone differing his views from seniors to juniors, please share your grievances in the appropriate political forum. He (Annamalai) gave us respect and dignity in the last three years and groomed us as leaders. We don’t want to lose any of it - neither the 11 per cent votes in 19 seats or the 20 per cent contested vote share across Tamil Nadu,” Suryah had said.

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Published 12 June 2024, 13:40 IST

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