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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Rumblings in T.N. BJP over Annamalai’s leadership- Mrit News

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Voices of disapproval over the leadership style of Tamil Nadu BJP president K. Annamalai have begun to emerge within the party, with some accusing him of resorting to one-upmanship and taking unilateral actions. However, his supporters back him, arguing a perception has gained ground that the organisation was growing politically in the State ever since he took over its reins.

A section of seniors and second line functionaries feel sidelined and “humiliated” by Mr. Annamalai, who took over as president of the party’s State unit in July last year.

Though some leaders claim to have taken this up with the party’s high command, they were unwilling to go on record.

“There have been instances where Mr. Annamalai has insulted very senior leaders of the party in his cabin, pulling them up for not being ‘resourceful’. In public, however, he would behave as if nothing had happened with that person. In fact, there is a feeling he is building an image of himself that is bigger than the party, something that is not in line with the BJP’s ideology,” a senior leader told The Hindu on Sunday.

District unit cadre have complained to senior leaders about “his insulting behaviour”, claimed a leader. “There is definitely discontent within the party on the manner in which he is functioning. There’s no question about that. But he’s our party leader and we have no option but to defend him in public,” said another leader.

There is also discomfort over the manner in which Mr. Annamalai has been trying to publicly browbeat journalists, calling them stooges of the ruling party. Senior functionaries feel this would not augur well for the BJP in the long run in Tamil Nadu.

“As the leader of the party unit, he is bound to face uncomfortable questions from the media. But retorting to such questions by attributing motives is uncalled for,” a senior leader said, pointing out that former Tamil Nadu unit president Tamilisai Soundararajan too had faced several uncomfortable questions and sometimes mocked for her appearance, but had always kept her cool and maintained cordial relationship with journalists.

However, Mr. Annamalai’s supporters disagree, and defend his action. “Watching him from close quarters, I can surely say he is not someone who will abuse others. If some party functionary has been assigned a task and fails to do it, obviously as State president, he will ask questions,” contended M. Chakravarthy, vice president, Tamil Nadu BJP.

Mr. Chakravarthy insisted that Mr. Annamalai was only retorting to certain journalists “as they had specific agendas” and were trying to “distort” issues.

Another leader close to Mr. Annamalai questioned why he should not counter journalists when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was often derided and criticised in various television debates for anything that he announces.

“There are lots of expectations from the State president. He is expecting people to do the work allotted to them. So he is very strict. There is nothing wrong with that,” another leader said, pointing out that even other political party leaders have singled out certain media houses who have had questions with agendas. “So when Mr Annamalai raises questions about that, it becomes an issue?”


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