AIADMK chief Edappadi K Palaniswami on Wednesday said his party's decision to walk out of the BJP-led NDA was in deference to its workers' feelings on the "happenings" in the state and asserted that no other factor played a role in the snapping of ties.
There was no pressure from the BJP high command whatsoever, and reports in a section of the media claiming that there were differences between the two over the saffron party's demand about the number of seats for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls are false, he said here.
He also described as 'drama' the forming of the opposition INDIA alliance, saying it was a coming together of parties with contrarian views and that the bloc was not even taking shape. He cited as an example AAP, a key constituent of the INDIA grouping, releasing its list of candidates for the year-end Madhya Pradesh assembly polls, where traditional rivals Congress and BJP are facing off.
Recalling the September 25 meeting of key office-bearers where AIADMK unanimously decided to bid adieu to BJP and lead a grouping of its own in 2024, Palaniswami said the decision to walk out of the National Democratic Alliance was taken after party members conveyed the feelings of "two crore party workers" to the leadership.
"The happenings here wounded our party workers. A party worker has to work for a party's success and its welfare and our decision is in deference to party workers' feelings," the AIADMK general secretary said.
A war of words with erstwhile ally BJP over its state chief K Annamalai's comments about Dravidian stalwart C N Annadurai resulted in the AIADMK walking out of the NDA.
Palaniswami asserted that there was "no pressure" whatsoever from the top BJP leadership -- be it Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah or the party's national chief J P Nadda. He also insisted the AIADMK did not demand that Annamalai be replaced.
On DMK alleging that the snapping of ties between the AIADMK and the BJP was a drama, Palaniswami retorted that the "INDIA alliance is a drama." "The AAP, headed by Arvind Kerjiwal, has announced its candidates for the Madhya Pradesh elections...parties with divergent views have joined the alliance. It has not taken shape," he said.
While TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee "says there is no understanding with the Communists there, in Kerala, the chief minister (Pinarayi Vijayan) says we (CPI-M) are not joining hands with the Congress. So is the case with AAP-ruled Punjab and Delhi, he said.
The INDIA alliance's constituents include the Congress, Left parties, DMK and AAP.
Palaniswami expressed confidence about forming a "grand alliance" led by the AIADMK and winning both the 2024 polls as well as the 2026 assembly elections in the state.
He hit out at the MK Stalin-led DMK government over a number of issues including the ongoing Cauvery dispute with Karnataka.
On some AIADMK MLAs meeting Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Coimbatore on Tuesday, he said they were just doing their job as elected representatives and that they took up issues, including the welfare of coconut farmers, with her.
The party has taken a "firm" decision on not having an alliance with BJP, he added.
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