The ties between AIADMK and the BJP have slid to an all-time low, with the BJP workers in Tuticorin burning photos of AIADMK chief E Palaniswami, accusing him of violating "coalition dharma'. Last week, five BJP leaders had joined the AIADMK - among them was the BJP's state IT wing chief CRT Nirmal Kumar. On Wednesday, 13 other BJP members quit the party in support of CTR Nirmal Kumar.
Mr Kumar had quit the party and joined the AIADMK on Sunday, accusing Mr Annamalai of having a secret understanding with a DMK minister.
Since the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the AIADMK has lost three elections while contesting in alliance with the BJP. In the recent by-poll which the AIADMK alliance lost, the parties did not even campaign together. Sources indicated that the party looks upon the BJP as a liability now.
In November last year, Mr Palaniswami said there was no need for him to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah during his private visit to the state.
State BJP chief K Annamalai declared that the AIADMK poaching from the BJP indicates that his party has "arrived". "This shows we are growing in Tamil Nadu. The BJP has arrived," said state BJP chief K Annamalai.
Comparing himself to late political stalwarts of the state, he said: "As a leader like J Jayalalithaa and M Karunanidhi, I too will take action as a leader. I am not a manager but a leader," Mr Annamalai had added.
The AIADMK denies it is poaching from the BJP, which has a negligible presence in the state. AIADMK spokesperson Kovai Sathyan called Mr Annamalai "a manager of a corporate party nominated by his leadership".
Slamming the state BJP chief for what he called "defamation" of Jayalalithaa, he added, "When the BJP receives our cadre, it beats its chest but when his party cadre come to us, they shout".
In the past, the BJP had absorbed senior AIADMK leaders including former minister Nainar Nagendran, who is now the party's leader in the assembly.
The trouble had started when the BJP, which has just four MLAs in the 234-member house, projected itself as the key opposition amid the ongoing tussle between E Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam.
Under the circumstances, Thursday's district secretaries' meet when the issue is expected to be discussed, will draw much attention.