AIADMK Concerned About BJP Taking Away its Youth

Chennai: The latest concern over AIADMK members, particularly youth, eagerly taking part in the yatra (march) undertaken by BJP State President K Annamalai – an issue that was recently raised by VCK general secretary Thol Thiurmavalavan - is likely to figure in the discussions at the meeting of AIADMK district secretaries and party in-charges at Puratchi Thalaivar MGR Maligai on November 21, it is learnt.

Thirumavalavan’s revelation made to the media a few days back at Chidambaram, in which he said both AIADMK and PMK cadre were participating in the state-wide En Mann En Makkal (My Land, My People) yatra, raised an alarm in the top echelons of the AIADMK that the party top brass wants to address it seriously and stop any such covert migration taking place.

In the agenda for the November 21 meeting at the party headquarters is one item to set up committees for the youth wing, probably aimed at retaining the loyalty of the young supporters through some streamlining of the organisation.

The meeting would also set up committees for the women’s wing and also for the polling booths to gear up for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, party general secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami announced a few days back.

Since Palaniswami’s plan is to be rebuild the AIADMK by refurbishing its image and regaining its secular credentials with a view to becoming a formidable force in Tamil Nadu during the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the revelation that some of his party cadre had thrown their weight behind Annamalai has become a matter of serious concern to him.

While on one hand, he had to assuage the feelings of some top honchos in his party who are peeved over the party breaking up with the BJP on September 18 after a long-time electoral alliance, the suspected new trend of his party members gravitating towards the former ally is the last thing that Palaniswami wants to happen.

His idea is to bring back the minority voters, who moved out after it joined hands with the BJP following the passing away of J Jayalalithaa in 2016, into its fold and to that end he has made overtures to several small outfits and is waiting for their positive response. With those groups not responding immediately, those in the AIADMK who preferred the BJP alliance were already putting pressure on Palaniswami to reconsider his decision to leave NDA.

Even BJP leaders, including Annamalai who was making sly derogatory statements against AIADMK’s icons like C N Annadurai and J Jayalalithaa when the alliance was on, did not speak ill of the party after the break up for there were many leaders in the national party too who want the support of the AIADMK in the Lok Sabha elections.

So after the snapping of ties, leaders of neither the BJP nor the AIADMK were out to defame the other by raking up the past. In such a situation, the suspicion of AIADMK cadre swinging to the BJP side, be it on their own volition or due to BJP’s invitation, is likely to cause heartburns and anxiety.

In the same fashion, the reported participation of PMK cadre in Annamalai’s march has caused misgivings particularly since the yatra was nearing the Vanniyar belt. It was that perhaps prompted PMK president Anbumani Ramadass to hit out at Annamalai for his recent statement on removing the statue of Periyar E V Ramasamy from near temples while speaking at a meeting in Srirangam.

Though it is not clear if the PMK is still part of the NDA or not, Anbumani Ramadass was keen on letting his cadre and the common people know that he did not see the BJP as an ally at least when the national party runs down Periyar.

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