Recent developments bring factionalism in state BJP to fore

The bandh U-turn triggered by Annamalai’s intervention has widened the rift between the Coimbatore seniors and the state leadership.
Representative Image
Representative Image Reuters

CHENNAI: Factionalism in the BJP’s state unit has come to the fore, leaving party cadre and sympathisers sulking. The recent developments, starting from the last-minute U-turn in the bandh call issued post-Coimbatore blast, has strained the ties further.

Though the party leadership manages to keep the disgruntled forces under its control, there is total “disharmony” at all levels in the party, a discouraging sign ahead of the Lok Sabha polls due in a little over 18 months.

Party insiders expressed their displeasure over the functioning style of certain leaders and their sycophants. They are digressing from the core party ideology and only trying to promote “personality politics” to advance a person’s personal growth. It is demoralising the party functionaries and old timers, who invested their prime of their youth for the party’s growth.

“Senior leaders like H Raja, Pon Radhakrishnan and CP Radhakrishnan are sidelined. They are fighting for political survival. The disgruntled groups under (state secretary) Vinoj P Selvam, (national women wing president) Vanathi Srinivasan, (social media state president) CTR Nirmal Kumar and (general secretary) Karuppu Muruganandam are significant. But, the party structure and the power entrusted with state president (K Annamalai) will give little space for them to revolt,” said a senior leader in the party.

The bandh U-turn triggered by Annamalai’s intervention has widened the rift between the Coimbatore seniors and the state leadership.

The present state leadership is spending its resources and time to build a perception that the party is growing in the state and indulging in a “political cult,” said another young party leader. “It is nothing but smoke and mirrors, but the party leadership is failing big time. The chain of events in the past few months is really disturbing. Many senior leaders prefer to remain silent. The state president’s style of handling sensitive issues is causing irreversible damage to the party,” said another functionary and hinted at the issues involving Daisy Saran-Suriya Siva and Gayathri Raguram.

Gayathri even took to social media and hit out at the “troll army” of the state president on twitter, while several other leaders admitted to it. “Nothing will stop Annamalai from enforcing his writ. Since the post he holds has the supreme power in the state unit and his close connection with national organising secretary (BL Santhosh) gives him a free-hand to take on anyone whom he thinks as threat,” said a leader recalling how Annamalai replaced Vanathi Srinvisan’s list of candidates for Coimbatore for the local body polls and appointing Vinoj Selvam as incharge for northern districts to keep him away from Chennai. “Several district presidents and second and third level leaders are growing tired of Annamalai’s self-obsessiveness and demand to bring a large number of crowds to his programmes,” he said.

BJP state president Annamalai was unavailable for comments, while state vice president Narayanan Thirupathy denied the charges and said the party is like a disciplined force as everyone works for a single goal in mind.

“Unlike Congress or other political parties, there is no hope for groupism or factionalism to do parallel politics in the BJP,” he said.

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