The initial banner had pictures of leaders of smaller allies, including G K Vasan and K Krishnasamy. “There has been no stay of the order of the Madras high court endorsing Palaniswami’s leadership. EPS is in complete control of the party. So, partymen are furious with the BJP for refusing to acknowledge that. If there is no two leaves symbol, EPS will go with a free symbol, with or without the BJP’s support,” said a senior leader, seeking anonymity. Palaniswami sent a delegation of former ministers, including veteran K A Sengottaiyan, to the state BJP headquarters on January 21, to seek its support. The AIADMK delegation was merely informed that “the message would be conveyed to the high command”. Meanwhile, against the backdrop of the day’s developments, BJP state chief K Annamalai left for New Delhi on Wednesday evening.
Palaniswami, who is the leader of opposition, chose not to react to Narendra Modi government’s budget, even as his rival O Panneerselvam welcomed it. Among its erstwhile allies, the PMK chose not to support either the AIADMK nor the BJP, while Vijayakant’s DMDK decided to field a candidate. The NDA in Tamil Nadu is in disarray ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. Despite declaring that the AIADMK was “a stronger and bigger ally”, the BJP state leadership, however, issued a caveat that the party would never support an independent symbol.
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