The internal tussle in the AIADMK is increasing. The party’s chief coordinator and former deputy chief minister O. Posters supporting Panneerselvam are pasted in many parts of south Tamil Nadu, including his home district Theni and Tirunelveli. These posters have appeared in areas of influence of the Thevar community. Panneerselvam belongs to this community. In caste-ridden Tamil Nadu politics, the Thevars feel that their senior leader should be replaced by former chief minister Gounder leader K. Palaniswami has been sidelined by the political game played.
The AIADMK plans to hold its legislature party meeting at its party headquarters in Chennai on June 14 to elect office-bearers in the assembly. “I have already submitted a request to the state DGP JK Tripathi for the proposed meeting to be held at our party headquarters on June 14,” party’s organizing secretary and former minister of state for fisheries D. Jayakumar said. Strict covid guidelines and covid protocol will have to be followed under the meeting.
The former minister also said that the election of the office bearers of the legislature party will be conducted smoothly and there is no difference of opinion between any leader. The AIADMK had unanimously elected Palaniswami as the Leader of the Opposition on May 10, though Panneerselvam had raised some objections during the meeting. The former deputy chief minister had then raised the issue of electoral defeat and called for an open discussion on 10.5 per cent reservation for Vanniyar community within the most backward class due to electoral defeat. Palaniswami had said about the reservation that the party has taken hold in Vanniyar.
Several leaders in the Thevar-dominated areas of south Tamil Nadu, including Panneerselvam’s home district Theni, had hit out at the party’s poor performance. The party could only win the former deputy chief minister’s Bodinayakanar seat and said the party did well in 10 out of 11 seats in Palaniswami’s hometown of Salem district. Former interim general secretary of the party VK. Sasikala called the AIADMK workers and said that she will take charge of the party in future. It had gone viral on social media.
Palaniswami and former minister C.V. Shanmugam had come up against Sasikala, but Panneerselvam kept his silence. In the first Jayalalithaa government, AIADMK leader and Adi Dravida and Tribal Welfare Minister M. Anandan lashed out at both Palaniswami and Panneerselvam. He was one of the senior leaders of the AIADMK, who has been discussed with former interim general secretary of the party Sasikala. Anandan said, “The AIADMK is now being run without any direction and without a rudder. Both Palaniswami and Panneerselvam do not have proper vision on how to run the party. It will be interesting to see that Panneerselvam is in the party demanding more recognition for him from the Thevar community and VK. What would be the reaction of Sasikala, another Thevar community person.