Posters supporting AIADMK chief co-ordinator and former Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, have appeared in several parts of south Tamil Nadu, including his home district Theni and Tirunelveli.
The posters have appeared in Thevar community-strong areas. Panneerselvam belongs to the community.
In caste-ridden Tamil Nadu politics, the Thevars feel that their senior leader has been sidelined by the political games played out by Gounder leader K. Palaniswami, the former Chief Minister.
The AIADMK plans to hold its legislative party meeting on June 14 at its party headquarters in Chennai to elect the office bearers in the assembly.
Party organizing secretary and former state minister for fisheries, D. Jayakumar told IANS: “I have already submitted a request with the state DGP J.K. Tripathy for the proposed meeting to be held on June 14 at our party headquarters. The meeting will be held under strict Covid guidelines and adhering to the Covid protocol.”
The former Minister also said that the election of legislative party office bearers will be a smooth affair and that there were no differences between any leader.
The AIADMK had elected Palaniswami as the leader of the opposition unanimously on May 10 even though Panneerselvam had raised some objections during the meeting.
The former deputy chief minister had then raised the issue of the election defeat and had called upon an open discussion on the 10.5 per cent reservation for the Vanniyar community within the Most Backward Class as a reason for the electoral defeat.
Palaniswami had done a brief presentation on the rationale behind the reservation and said that the party had gained ground in Vanniyar pockets.
Several leaders had then lashed out against the poor performance of the party in Thevar dominated areas of south Tamil Nadu, including in Panneerselvam’s home district Theni, where the party could win only the Bodinayknar seat of the former deputy chief minister and pointed out that in the Salem district — homeground of Palaniswami, the party did well winning 10 of the 11 seats.
The leaks of the audio clippings of former party interim general secretary V.K. Sasikala calling up AIADMK cadres that she would take over the party in the immediate future had gone viral on social media.
The AIADMK leaders, including Palaniswami and former minister C.V. Shanmugham had come out against Sasikala but Panneerselvam maintained a golden silence.
M. Anandan, AIADMK leader and former minister for Adi Dravidar and Tribal welfare in the first Jayalalithaa government has lashed out against both Palaniswami and Panneerselvam. He was one of the senior leaders of the AIADMK, who have had a discussion with the former party interim general secretary Sasikala.
Anandan told IANS: “The AIADMK is now being run without any direction and is rudderless. Both Palaniswami and Panneerselvam do not have a proper perspective on how the party is to be run.”
It will be interesting to watch as to how Panneerselvam will respond to the Thevar community demanding for more recognition to him in the party and also the alignment he will have with V.K. Sasikala, another Thevar community person.