Chennai, July 23 (BPNS)
BJP state president, K. Annamalai is embarking on an ambitious ‘Padayatra’ or walking by foot from July 28 onwards. The IPS officer turned-politician is an aggressive politician and had taken on the ruling DMK by its horns and has been engaged in a tit-for-tat fight with the ruling front. His untiring fight against corruption seems to have gained traction at least in the BJP and RSS circles of Tamil Nadu.
The Yatra titled ,’En Mann, Enn Makkal’ (My land , My people) will be flagged off by Union Home Minister, Amit Shah from the temple town of Rameswaram on July 28. The yatra will cover all the 234 assembly constituencies and 39 Lok Saba constituencies of Tamil Nadu and will be held in five phases. The Yatra is expected to conclude in Chennai on January 11 but will have interim breaks in between.
The first phase of the yatra will cover eight parliamentary constituencies –Ramanathapuram, Sivaganga, Madurai, Theni, Virudhunagar, Thoothukudi, Kanniyakumari and Tirunelveli. This phase will commence from Rameswaram and end in Tirunelveli. The second phase of the yatra will commence from Tenkasi in South Tamil Nadu and end in Namakkal in Western Tamil Nadu.
BJP state leaders told B[NS that the Union Home minister will release, ‘ Rameswaram Resolutions’ which will be the political document of action for the BJP in Tamil Nadu for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. The yatra will try to distribute an appeal by the BJP President Annamalai in 1 crore households of the state and for a make over for the BJP in Tamil Nadu, wiping of the anti- Tamil tag which the DMK has been campaigning against the party in Tamil Nadu.
The Padayatra is expected to convey directly to the people, the nine year rule of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP as well as on the future programmes of the party.
Interestingly, the BJP is flagging of the Yatra from the temple town of Rameswaram which has a sizeable fishermen population whom the BJP is trying to woo.
It is to be noted that the long walk on the foot to be undertaken by the BJP state president of Tamil Nadu is a political attempt of the Saffron party to inculcate a support base for it in the state where it has not had any proper support base. While BJP has had won Lok Sabha seats from the Nagercoil and Coimbatore seats earlier, presently the party don’t have an MP from the state. However BJP has 4 MLA’s in Tamil Nadu assembly and this is seen as a victory with the support of the Dravidian major and principal opposition party of Tamil Nadu, the AIADMK.
The alliance between BJP and AIADMK has its ups and downs with the state president of BJP, K. Annamalai coming out even against his political ally AIADMK on corruption issue. His statement on corruption during Jayalalitha regime has led to sharp rebuttals by AIADMK senior leaders and it was the intervention from New Delhi (read BJP highcommand) that led to the reconciliation with the AIADMK by the state BJP or rather by Annamalai.
After the arrival of the former IPS officer turned Annamalai, to the centre stage of the BJP has catapulted the political fortunes of the saffron party in a primarily Dravidian state. Annamalai is banking on the support base of the youth given the fact that he had taken a strong stand against corruption and corrupt practices.
The BJP leader has taken up the fight to the DMK camp and with several corruption allegations against the ministers in the Stalin cabinet, the ruling front is on a backfoot. The arrest and judicial custody of one of the most powerful minister’s in the council of ministers, Senthil Balaji and the two day interrogation of Tamil Nadu higher education minister, K. Ponmudi have increased the woes of the DMK. The Enforcement Directorate has already submitted a request at the Judicial magistrate court to assist in the investigation by the Tamil Nadu Directorate of Vigilance and Anti Corruption (DVAC) on the state fisheries Minister, Anitha Radhakarishnan has also made the DMK increase its difficulties.
With the AIADMK general secretary and former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Edappadi K. Palaniswami (EPS) openly declaring a huge mandate for the NDA in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, it is clear that the differences between the AIADMK and BJP are patched up.
It has now to be seen how the Padayatra of BJP Tamil Nadu state president, Annamalai will increase the acceptance of the saffron party in Tamil Nadu. While Chief Minister Stalin has already announced that the DMK and its allies would go for the kill and win all the 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu, the BJP,AIADMK alliance is banking heavily on the Padayatra of Annamalai and how it can increase the possibilities of NDA garnering more seats from the Dravidian land of Tamil Nadu to increase its footprint in South of India.