Ending its four year-old ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on Monday announced walking out of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and said it would lead a separate front for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
The decision to break away from the NDA was taken at a high level meeting chaired by party chief Edappadi K Palaniswami at the AIADMK headquarters in Chennai.
The decision was met with cheers from the Dravidian party workers who burst crackers outside the headquarters.
The move to call it quits comes days after senior AIADMK leaders called on BJP chief J P Nadda in New Delhi and apprised him about the ground situation in the state arising out of the saffron party's Tamil Nadu chief K Annamalai's aggressive style of politics.
They had then sought Annamalai's apology for making a remark on Dravidian stalwart CN Annadurai or that he be replaced.
Briefing reporters on Monday’s deliberations, former minister and senior leader K P Munusamy said the party has unanimously adopted a resolution to part ways with the NDA and steer a combine of like-minded parties in next year's polls.
The resolution, though did not name anyone individually for the souring of ties, blamed the BJP's "state leadership," a pointer to Annamalai.
With an ulterior motive, the AIADMK said the BJP's state leadership deliberately defamed Annadurai and late party matriarch J Jayalalithaa and incumbent chief Palaniswami.
The BJP has also has been critical of its policies and "belittled" the August 20, 2023, Madurai conference of the party.
Such slanderous, wanton criticism aimed at the AIADMK has been going on for the past about one year and it led to deep resentment and outrage among the cadres and office-bearers, the resolution said.
Top party office-bearers, district secretaries and MLAs and MPs took part in the AIADMK's consultative meet to decide on its ties with the BJP-led NDA.
Munusamy said the unanimous decision honours the sentiments and aspirations of over two crore party workers.
Political observers are of the view that the scope for rapprochement is anyone's guess and the BJP may have to face polls by joining forces with TTV Dhinakaran-led Amma Makkal Munnettra Kazhagam, former chief minister O Panneerselvam (OPS) and smaller allies.
VK Sasikala, former confidante of late AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa, who still has claims to the AIADMK leadership, may also support such a combine.
Also, the AIADMK snapping ties with BJP might be due to other aspects as well, going beyond the "Annamalai factor."
The saffron party's inclination to accommodate OPS in the alliance could be among the sticking points.
While the AIADMK cadres celebrated the decision with bursting of crackers, the official party handle and supporters posted messages on X with the hashtag "#Nandri_Meendum Varaatheergal (Thank you, please do not come again)," seen as a snub to the BJP.
The AIADMK and BJP faced the 2019 LS polls and the 2021 Assembly election together.
Incidentally, AIADMK senior leader D Jayakumar had last week called off the alliance with BJP, saying he was conveying the party's stand.
Annamalai recently said that Annadurai had in 1956, while addressing an event, made a critical remark of a belief in the Hindu religion.
It was freedom fighter Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar who had stood in defence of Sanatan Dharma opposing that comment.
The BJP leader said he had copies of news reports (1956) of an English daily to substantiate his point.
The AIADMK, however, said he had defamed Annadurai and maintained that there is no proof for such a remark by the late leader. The state's main opposition party had demanded that Annamalai apologise for targeting Annadurai.