Indicating further trouble to the AIADMK, its former interim General Secretary V.K. Sasikala has said, in a leaked audio message to an AIADMK functionary, that she cannot be separated from the party.
The specific mentioning of the AIADMK in the audiotape, which was released on Thursday, is contrary to the public posture taken by AIADMK joint coordinator and former Chief Minister, K. Palaniswami that Sasikala, in the earlier leaked tapes, was not speaking to AIADMK cadres or functionaries but to the cadres of the AMMK founded by her nephew T.T.V. Dhinakaran.
The leaked audio of Sasikala assumes significance as the AIADMK legislature party meet to elect the party office bearers in the legislature like the Deputy Leader of Opposition and Chief Whip are to take place on June 14 at the party headquarters.
While Palaniswami was elected as the Leader of Opposition exactly a month ago, the post of Deputy Leader of Opposition and Chief Whip was not filled, owing to differences of opinion between Palaniswami and O. Panneerselvam, the powerful Thevar leader who was the Deputy Chief Minister in the Palaniswami government.
Panneerselvam, according to AIADMK insiders, is not interested to opt for the post of Deputy Leader of Opposition but wants to anoint one of his key supporters as the Chief Whip which is a crucial post.
Sources in the AIADMK however said that Palaniswami is very much in the saddle in the party for the time being and if Sasikala crash lands into the party obviously with the support and blessings of the BJP national leadership, then the situation can change. Panneerselvam is not in a position to challenge the authority of Palaniswami in the party as he could not get a positive election result on his home turf, thus reducing his clout within the party.
With DMK leader M.K. Stalin firmly positioning himself as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and practicing inclusive politics, the AIADMK will have to rework its strategies to put up a good fight in the days to come and to prepare itself for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.