Nearly a month after taking over as Tamil Nadu's BJP chief, former IPS officer Annamalai is facing trouble amid rumblings with the party. Tensions have been brewing after an audio tape surfaced earlier this week in which Mr Annamalai is reportedly heard giving a go-ahead for the release of a sting video that has put a senior leader in the dock, embarrassing the party.
"Call is yours. How you would want to do it? If you publish (the video) then I would expel them all in a matter of one or two hours. If you don't publish then it is a bigger headache for me. I have to show this to all, convince all and expel two every month. Hope you are understanding," he is purportedly heard saying in the video. NDTV could not independently verify the authenticity of the audio tape.
The conversation is linked to a senior state BJP leader's alleged explicit video call with a woman party worker.
KT Raghavan, the General Secretary of Tamil Nadu BJP and a senior RSS leader, had quit from his post a few days ago, hours after footage of his alleged sleaze video call with the woman went viral.
Mr Raghavan has denied the allegations and has called the sting operation "an attempt to tarnish" him and the party.
The video was released by YouTuber Madan Ravichandran, who has now been expelled from the BJP along with his associate MS Venba. Mr Ravichandran has alleged that he has evidence of sexual exploitation against 15 leaders in the state BJP unit.
"We have audio and video evidence against 15 leaders. Why we released his (KT Raghavan's) first is because he always projected himself as Mr Clean everywhere," says Mr Ravichandran in his video.
The expelled BJP YouTuber claims he only wanted an internal probe but released the sting video only after Annamalai gave his consent.
Reacting to the controversy, party leader Khushbu Sundar said on Twitter that the "matter should be investigated".
Did you see any one woman from the party come n complain about misbehavior from anyone? We stand with every women if subjected to sexual assault,party or not. We stand with women to empower them. And am surprised you didn't read where I said "matter will n should be investigated" https://t.co/6zc5kjXGiw— KhushbuSundar (@khushsundar) August 26, 2021
The state BJP chief has confirmed he had met the journalists. He has also ordered a probe. Another leader who did not want to be named said "I don't think there is any tug of war among leaders. Let's wait for the probe. I don't fault with Annamalai, even assuming the voice in the sting audio is his".
K Annamalai, who quit the IPS to join politics, was made the Tamil Nadu state unit president in July.
At 37, Annamalai Kuppusamy, is the youngest president Tamil Nadu BJP ever had and he is the first to rise to the position in the state unit within a year of joining the party.