‘Natural Fit in BJP’: Ex-IPS Officer K Annamalai Joins Party

Annamalai, who served as an IPS officer in Karnataka, popularly called ‘Singam’ quit the police force in May 2019.

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India
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Former IPS officer Annamalai Kuppuswamy has formally joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday at 1 pm.
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Former IPS officer Annamalai Kuppuswamy has formally joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday, 25 August, at 1 pm in an event in New Delhi ending months of speculation about his foray into politics.

Annamalai, who served as an IPS officer in Karnataka, and was popularly referred to as ‘Singam’ quit the police force in May 2019. Following his resignation, he was expected to join the BJP but over the last few months, Annamalai said he tussled with the idea of starting independently in politics. “I was considering my options over the last few months but finally I have decided to join the BJP and start my political career,” Annamalai told TNM.

Speaking to TNM, Annamalai said he saw himself as a natural fit in the BJP. “I closely align with the larger vision of the BJP. I will have an opportunity to be in the party and help grow the party in Tamil Nadu,” he said, adding,"I see I am a natural fit there (in BJP)." He was in talks with other parties including Rajinikanth but eventually decided to join the BJP.

He said he did not consider joining the Dravidian parties, which have a duopoly over politics in Tamil Nadu. “I also felt that the Dravidian parties are not true to their original mission of bringing about change. The ideals of Annadurai, Periyar and MGR were different from the ideals of today’s leaders,” he said.

Responding to public discussion over his decision to join the BJP, Annamalai said that unlike the police force, he now has the freedom to express his opinions. “I am reading a lot of discussions online about my ideology based on a few tweets. When I was a police officer, my master was the Constitution of India...I am not going against the Constitution now but unlike in my time in the police force, I have the freedom to express my opinions,” he added.

His decision to join the BJP comes after he gave multiple interviews to the Tamil media, clearly stating that his political plunge will come later and not anytime soon. He had said that his first priority is to support and strengthen the grassroots in his native town in terms of agriculture and education and then think of electoral politics.

In his interviews, he has been against nepotism in politics and an open admirer of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his simplicity and for coming up the ladder from humble beginnings. He has also been a vocal supporter of Modi’s decisions like the demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) which, according to Annamalai, were brought in with a larger vision in mind. The benefits of it will be seen in 10-15 years and not in the short term, he had told the media.

BJP’s Track Record in Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu’s politics over the past half century has been dominated by the two Dravidian parties, the AIADMK and the DMK. The BJP has been trying to establish relevance in Tamil Nadu’s political sphere since the demise of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and further more after the death of the DMK Patriarch and five-time Chief Minister M Karunanidhi. However, BJP’s efforts in Tamil Nadu have failed to translate into votes during elections.

Despite the BJP’s dismal track record in the southern state, Annamalai is expected to work based in either Coimbatore or Chennai ahead of the 2021 Assembly elections.

Career as a Police Officer

Annamalai took over as DCP of Bengaluru (South) in October 2018. He is a graduate of PSG College of Technology in Coimbatore and Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow. A 2011 batch IPS officer, Annamalai is native to Karur in Tamil Nadu. He was first posted as the assistant superintendent of police, Karkala sub-division in Udupi district in 2013. He was later promoted to SP of Udupi on 1 January 2015.

Upon taking charge, he earned a reputation for cracking down on criminal activities in the coastal district. He was also popularly referred to as the 'Singam' of Udupi. Annamalai frequently interacted with students studying in colleges, particularly in Manipal, where he implemented stringent rules restricting nightlife in the student town. Bars and restaurants were forcibly closed at 11:30 pm while students in the town were asked to identify and explain themselves if they were caught by the police after midnight.

He was transferred out of Udupi district and posted as SP of Chikkamagaluru district in July 2016. He earned further praise for his handling of the sensitive Baba Budangiri issue.  In December 2017, he organised a peace-keeping meeting between members of Hindu and Muslim communities following incidents of vandalism at the famous Baba Budangiri shrine in the district. The shrine is a pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Muslims.

In 2018, Annamalai was given his transfer orders to take charge as SP of Ramanagara district within hours of BS Yeddyurappa becoming the chief minister of Karnataka. JD(S) and Congress legislators were put up in a resort in Ramanagara at the time. The transfer, however, never materialised since Yeddyurappa relinquished his post within two days. Annamalai was then made the DCP of Bengaluru (South) in October of the same year, capping a remarkable rise through the police ranks in the state.

(With inputs from Megha Kaveri and Theja Ram. Published in an arrangement with The News Minute)

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