Post Lok Sabha polls, Annamalai and EPS indulge in war of words

EPS claimed that Annamalai was creating a false impression that the BJP was growing under his leadership.
Last Updated : 05 July 2024, 15:24 IST

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Chennai: In a renewed war of words between them, BJP state chief K Annamalai on Friday called AIADMK general secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami a "traitor" whose party was setting a record in losing elections, while the latter dubbed him as a "publicity hound."

Palaniswami, who walked out of the BJP-led NDA in September last year, took strong exception to Annamalai's criticism of the AIADMK's decision to boycott the Vikravandi assembly by-election and reminded him that under the latter's leadership, the NDA's vote share in Tamil Nadu declined and the BJP was constrained to form a coalition government at the Centre.

Ridiculing Annamalai as a "political genius" who knew how the AIADMK should function, Palaniswami told reporters in Coimbatore on Friday that Annamalai's criticism was "intentional."

"During the Lok Sabha election, our candidate from Villupuram lost by a slender margin of 6,800... criticising the party which cited deteriorating law and order to abstain from the by-election, is condemnable," Palaniswami said.

He claimed that Annamalai was creating a false impression that the BJP was growing under his leadership. "But this is not true." In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the BJP candidate C P Radhakrishnan secured 42,000 votes less than the AIADMK candidate from Coimbatore while in the 2024 poll, Annamalai lost at the hustings, the former Chief Minister said.

"Has the BJP grown in Tamil Nadu under his leadership? The BJP-led NDA, which secured 18.80 percent vote share in 2014 declined to 18.28 in the 2024 Lok Sabha poll," Palaniswami said.

"Annamalai is a publicity hound. Has he brought any new initiatives for the state through the Centre? No. He is merely setting a false narrative and making defamatory speeches against other parties," Palaniswami alleged.

In a rapid development that unfolded following his reaction, Annamalai told reporters in Vikravandi on Friday that Palaniswami was 'destroying' the AIADMK due to his "selfish pursuit for power." "As a result, the AIADMK cadres started migrating and many of them have started coming to the BJP. This will reflect in the 2026 Assembly elections in the BJP's vote share," he claimed.

The BJP state chief said, "if the word traitor suited anyone then it was Palaniswami" who rejected the BJP. The AIADMK lost the deposit in the LS election because the party is good but the leadership is not." It was strange that the AIADMK, which has been losing deposits in all the elections it contested, was advising him on how to run the BJP and how he should function as a state leader. The AIADMK general secretary should study his performance before advising.

"He says the AIADMK is boycotting Vikravandi by-poll due to deteriorating law and order. Will the AIADMK abstain from the 2026 assembly election if the law and order doesn't improve?" Annamalai asked and added that the former CM was hunting for new reasons and was not functioning as a responsible leader of the opposition.

Published 05 July 2024, 15:24 IST

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