The TN BJP chief K Annamalai is keen on his party taking its own direction in the state. He wants to test the waters in the Lok Sabha polls of 2024 to check what percentage of the votes the BJP can get in the state when standing on its own. Depending on the outcome, he would like the party to decide on the Assembly poll alliance for 2026. The party is impressed with the response Annamalai’s leadership is getting even if he himself is under pressure over the designer Rafale special edition watch, said to have been priced at Rs 5 lakh, that has been raked up after he targeted the DMK for corruption. The AIADMK, led by Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS), is on tenterhooks regarding the outcome in the party case. The verdict is due on January 4 and his bargaining power on behalf of what is so far the official AIADMK could depend on where the judges go on the dispute with OPS’ wing of the same party. The BJP is playing a clever waiting game to see where the judgment takes the issue and if EPS comes off the worse in court, he could be in for a tough time. Meanwhile, there is talk of DMK joining the NDA fold but that is so much hot air at the moment even if in politics anything is possible.