All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief Edappadi K Palaniswami on Wednesday said that his party’s decision to leave the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance was driven solely by its workers’ feelings about the “happenings” in the state, PTI reported.

The AIADMK formally broke off its partnership with the BJP on September 25, ending a long-standing but increasingly frosty alliance. The two parties had formally tied up in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

At a meeting on September 25, the Dravidian party passed a resolution to leave the National Democratic Alliance citing unfavourable comments made by BJP’s state leadership.

“The state leadership of the BJP has been continuously making unnecessary remarks on our former leaders, our general secretary [EK Palaniswami] and our cadres for the past one year,” the party said.

This came a week after the AIADMK’s Organisational Secretary D Jayakumar announced the split. Jayakumar said that the decision was triggered by BJP state unit chief K Annamalai’s remarks about Dravidian leader CN Annadurai. Annamalai claimed that Annadurai insulted Hinduism during an event in Madurai in 1956.

Even though Annadurai founded the rival Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the AIADMK is named after him and the party has tried to assume his ideological and political legacy.

On Wednesday, referring to the September 25 meeting, Palaniswami said that the decision to withdraw from the BJP-led alliance was taken after AIADMK members conveyed the feelings of “two crore party workers” to the leadership.

“The happenings here wounded our party workers,” the former chief minister said. “A party worker has to work for a party’s success and its welfare and our decision is in deference to party workers’ feelings.”

But Palaniswami insisted that the AIADMK did not demand that Annamalai be replaced, PTI reported.

Palaniswami also rejected news reports claiming that there were differences between the AIADMK and the BJP over seat sharing for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. He said that there was “no pressure” from the BJP’s top leadership, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and party chief Jagat Prakash Nadda.

The AIADMK general secretary said he is confident of building a “grand alliance” in Tamil Nadu and winning both the 2024 general elections as well as the 2026 state polls.

Also read: How an ideological battle led to the AIADMK-BJP split