‘Don’t talk like a platform speaker’, Annamalai tells TN CM

Chennai:┬áTamil Nadu BJP president K Annamalai on Friday lashed out at Chief Minister M K Stalin for his critical remarks against the BJP, saying he spoke like an “ordinary platform speaker”.

Annamalai, a former IPS officer, also questioned the Tamil Nadu government withdrawing the general consent given to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), reminding Stalin’s numerous demands made as an opposition leader for the agency probe on many issues.

Annamalai was responding to Stalin’s strident attack against the BJP on Thursday, in a video, over the Enforcement Directorate (ED) arresting his cabinet colleague V Senthil Balaji in a money laundering case.

Stalin, president of the DMK, had said provoking the party and its workers could have its own repercussions, telling the BJP it was not a threat but a warning.

Annamalai said words like “daring someone” are used by ordinary platform speakers to keep the crowd engaged.

“But respected Stalin, ponder over whether your speaking like this suits the chief minister post being held by you,” the BJP leader said in a statement. The DMK, founded in 1949, has been in the ruling saddle and the opposition over the years, he pointed out.

“As someone well aware of all laws and probe procedures and with a 30 year legislative experience, is it fair for you to talk like a second-level (platform) speaker to protect someone (Balaji) who has shifted five parties,” Annamalai asked.

He wondered why Stalin was batting for a man accused in a particular case and sought to remind him he had not made any statement when Income Tax officials were allegedly assaulted when they came to conduct searches at some places linked to Balaji’s brother and acquaintances last month.

In fact, the ED searches against Balaji was pertaining to allegations raised by Stalin in 2016 against Balaji, who was not in DMK then, seeking action.

“What has changed in seven years. Now, that action has been taken on your plea, shouldn’t it have been welcomed on behalf of your party,” Annamalai asked.

On the issue of TN withdrawing general consent to the CBI, the BJP leader said the decision has been taken in “haste”.

As an opposition leader during the AIADMK regime, Stalin had sought a CBI probe into matters including the death of then CM J Jayalalithaa, a building collapse in the city, investigation against then ministers, the gutkha scam, Tuticorin police firing on anti-Sterlite protesters.

“You had sought CBI probe in May 2016 during elections regarding money distribution at Aravakurichi and Thanjavur. You had made the allegations against this very Senthil Balaji at Aravakurichi then,” Annamalai said.

“Now you asking the CBI to get prior approval of the state government to conduct a probe shows the sad state of affairs of this regime,” he said.

Questioning Stalin’s choice of words in his video, Annamalai asked who were they aimed at and asked him “how are you leading your party workers.”

“Using such words don’t befit our state known for many specialities,” he said.

“You have to decide if you are chief minister for 8.5 crore Tamil people or for your family and a small circle around you.”

“When you sought CBI probe for the mistakes committed by others, what wrong did you see in us doing the same for your mistakes. Why are you charging in panic like this,” he asked Stalin.