BJP says Palaniswami is NDA’s CM candidate for poll-bound Tamil Nadu
After weeks of uncertainty, the dust seems to have settled over the chief ministerial (CM) candidate issue between alliance partners Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in Tamil Nadu.
Responding to reporters on Monday, BJP state president L Murugan said ‘no more questions’ on this issue adding that the National Democratic Alliance will continue.
The matter had escalated a day ago and Murguan clarified on Sunday night that, “Annan (brother in Tamil) Palaniswami is the chief minister of NDA in Tamil Nadu”.
He, however, reiterated his earlier statements that it was for his party’s national leadership to make a formal announcement. “We have never said that we did not accept AIADMK’s decision,” Murugan told reporters in Thanjavur. BJP national president JP Nadda was expected to review the poll situation in Tamil Nadu at the end of the month and was likely to make official announcements but he had tested Covid-19 positive last week. “His visit has been postponed to mid-January,” a BJP functionary said.
Backing him, former police officer turned BJP state vice-president, K Annamalai, told reporters in Coimbatore that as a national party it is the parliamentary committee that would make decisions. Annamalai who had criticised parties bribing voters with Rs 2,000 also clarified that media reports misinterpreted his comment as an attack on Palaniswami who issued a Pongal festival dole of Rs 2,500 to ration card holders.
The AIADMK had in October announced chief minister and co-coordinator of the party Edappadi Palaniswami as its chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming 2021 polls. Palaniswami kicked off his party’s campaign on Saturday and a few hours later Murugan had told reporters that the national leadership will decide on the CM candidate and the leader of the alliance.
This irked AIADMK leaders had rallied behind Palaniswami saying that only those who accepted his leadership can remain in the alliance. Party spokesperson Pugalendhi told reporters on Sunday that if such remarks continue, the BJP would have to replace Murugan.
Palaniswami and deputy chief minister and party coordinator O Paneerselvam had announced that the AIADMK-BJP alliance will continue in the presence of Union home minister Amit Shah. Since then there has been unease in the AIADMK camp as the BJP had previously not acknowledged Palaniswami as the chief ministerial candidate nor made any formal announcement on the alliance.