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BJP state president K Annamalai recently set off a charge that could galvanise Tamil Nadu BJP’s workers into an aggressive campaign right away for the 2024 parliamentary elections: the idea that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should or would contest from Tamil Nadu.
“Our workers and leaders have suggested Modi’s name for contesting from Tamil Nadu,” declared Annamalai, who was on a visit to Bantwal, a town just outside Mangaluru in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka, as part of the ‘Grama Vikasa Yatre’ on January 27.
“He (Modi) has transcended the insider-outsider line. He has broken the Dravidian-Aryan line, North-South Line and Sanskrit-Tamil line. In all 39 Lok Sabha constituencies, leaders want Modi to contest from Tamil Nadu,” Annamalai told the media gathered at the event, when asked about rumours from the grapevine.
Annamalai was accompanied by BJP National General Secretary and coastal leader CT Ravi when he planted the seed of a possible Modi ticket in Tamil Nadu with seeming conviction in his interaction with the media.
“He (Modi) has transcended the insider-outsider line. He has broken the Dravidian-Aryan line, North-South Line and Sanskrit-Tamil line. In all 39 Lok Sabha constituencies, leaders want Modi to contest from Tamil Nadu,” Annamalai told the media
The Tamil Nadu BJP president also spoke about his ‘nadai payanam’ and said it was all about living with villagers and understanding their concerns. Mocking Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, Annamalai called it the ‘Bharath Todo Yatra’ and said, “(It) is nothing but a great walk inviting anti-nationals onto the yatra.”
He also criticised all of BJP’s opponents, including the DMK and the Left parties, along with the Congress. Annamalai attacked senior DMK leader K N Nehru for his alleged “irrational behaviour’ towards fellow party members, and KKSSR Ramachandran’s alleged mistreatment of a woman who came seeking his help, in an incident that was purportedly caught on camera last July. Without naming people, Annamalai also mentioned other incidents, where a journalist was beaten up and a government employee was insulted, among others.
Annamalai has an old connection with Karnataka, where he was addressing the crowd on January 27. Before he became a politician, as everyone knows he was a police officer. It was in Karnataka that he started his career in 2013 as Assistant Superintendent of Police in Karkala, Dakshina Kannada district. In January 2015, he became the Superintendent of Police in Udupi district, and was later transferred to Chikkamagaluru district in August 2016. From October 2018 to September 2019, Annamalai was Deputy Commissioner of Police of South Bengaluru.
Police sources say that, as an officer, Annamalai was dedicated to his work and fulfilled his duties beyond shifts, and was apolitical. Known for being intolerant to crime, he was even dubbed “Singham Annamalai” in his social circles, a moniker that caught on in the media in Dakshina Kannada district.
He joined the BJP in July 2020 and has since been considered a firebrand by party workers.
(The writer is based in Dakshina Kannada district)
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