After a BJP member and journalist Madhan Ravichandran released a video that reportedly showed senior state leader K.T. Raghavan allegedly indulging in “sex talk” with a woman, Raghavan had met Annamalai on Tuesday and resigned from the post of general secretary. He called the video a conspiracy to end his 30 year of selfless service to the party and promised to take suitable legal action. The video was subsequently taken down by social media platforms.
Annamalai in a statement released later admitted that Madhan had met him twice alleging that he had video evidence against 15 state BJP leaders sexually harassing women and demanded action. Annamalai had asked him to submit the video for further enquiry but when Madhan refused and threatened to release the video the former IPS officer asked him to go ahead. Once Madhan released the video Raghavan, who can be clearly seen in the video, though the conversation was muted and the woman’s image was blurred.
State leaders felt that the whole issue could have been handled more tactfully by Annamalai thus saving the huge embarrassment caused to the party. “A more experienced leader would have bought time by immediately sending the charges to a committee consisting of senior leaders that included women. He would have also asked the leaders named by Madhan to appear before that committee. This would have kept the issue under wraps till the enquiry is completed rather than throw the ball back in Madhan’s court,” said a senior BJP leader.
Instead Annamalai appointed a committee headed by a state woman office bearer to probe the matter after the video got released on social media and the damage had been inflicted, compelling Raghavan to step down. State BJP leaders feel that Annamalai acted more like a haughty police officer rather than a diplomatic politician in tackling the issue. "In the absence of a complaint by the woman and having not seen the video there was very little he could have done,"defended a supporter of Annamalai.
The appointment of Annamalai (37), who joined the party only in August 2020, as state president in July 2021 had surprised many considering his inexperience in politics, which only got further exposed by the present episode. “A sensitive issue like sexual harassment linking party leaders should have been handled more maturely and carefully,” pointed out a former state president of the party. Even when the issue was reported in a local daily a few months back the party high command at Delhi should have stepped in and ordered an enquiry he added.
Questions are also being asked why no action has been taken against Madhan, who recently joined the BJP and even became its state executive committee member, for conducting the sting operation against its own leaders. Madhan claimed that the state leadership had enough time to probe the matter after “Dinamalar”, a Tamil daily carried a big article on this issue. “I also alerted the state president about the video evidence in advance but he chose not to act.”
For Annamalai, who has been overselling the BJP in Tamil Nadu by predicting it would win 150 Assembly seats in 2026, the present episode has not only embarrassed the party but also raised questions about his leadership capabilities. Annamalai did not respond to phone calls or messages.