BJP ‘keen’ for patch between OPS and EPS in TN

The presence of deposed AIADMK leader O. Panneerselvam (OPS) in the swearing-in ceremony of Gujarat Chief Minister, Bhupendra Yadav following the invitation sent by the central BJP leadership indicates the saffron party’s willingness for a patch-up in the AIADMK which is its partner in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Panneerselvam, a former Chief Minister, is in political wilderness after his expulsion from the AIADMK, and the rival group of present interim general secretary, Edappadi K. Palaniswami (EPS) has gained an upperhand. However, OPS has a huge strength in his fiefdom of South Tamil Nadu and his Thevar community, who have been an ardent vote bank for the AIADMK.

The elders of Thevar community had even taken up the matter entry of OPS and former interim general secretary V.K. Sasikala (also from Thevar community) to the AIADMK with the party’s central leadership.

The nephew of Sasikala and general secretary of the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK), T.T.V. Dhinakaran is also a force to reckon with in South Tamil Nadu.

R. Pandyan, Director of Social Action Movement Tamil Nadu and based out of Tirunelveli, while speaking to IANS, said, “The Thevar community of South Tamil Nadu has always been a back bone of the AIADMK and the community won’t forgive the party leadership for expelling OPS who has been a leader who have come up from the rank and file. The combination of OPS, Sasikala, and Dhinakaran can be made use for the BJP and the AIADMK in the next Lok Sabha polls and it seems that the central BJP leadership has this point in mind.”

Sources close to OPS told IANS that the invitation to the former Chief Minister to the swearing-in ceremony of Gujarat Chief Minister is a clear indication that the BJP’s national leadership is keen for an alignment with him.

Even though the present interim general secretary of the party, Palaniswami was also invited to the swearing-in function of the Gujarat Chief Minister but he did not attend the programme citing personal commitments.

Sources say that the BJP is aiming for a patch-up between the two factions (OPS and EPS), and thus for a good fight in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

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