Thevar community to take the lead for OPS, Sasikala alliance

The powerful Thevar community in South Tamil Nadu has taken the initiative to bring about an alliance between its two top leaders, former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and former interim general secretary of the party, V.K. Sasikala.

Sources close to the Thevar leadership told IANS that in the past few days, serious deliberations and discussions have taken place between the faction close to OPS and Sasikala and her associates including her nephew and Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) general secretary, TTV Dhinakaran.

The Thevar community was one of the major beneficiaries during the AIADMK regime of late Jayalalithaa as Sasikala was calling the shots for the community. There is a feeling in the community that it has been marginalised after the ascendancy of Edappadi K. Palaniswami to the Chief Minister’s post.

The AIADMK has a strong presence in Southern Tamil Nadu but during the 2021 assembly elections, the party lost several seats due to the lethargic attitude of the Thevar community. Sources in the community told IANS that the Thevars did not vote for the AIADMK in large numbers as there was a general feeling that after Palaniswami, a Gounder, assumed office as Chief Minister after the demise of Jayalalithaa, the community did not get any benefits.

In the present scenario, it is Palaniswami and those close to him who are in command of the AIADMK while both OPS and Sasikala are out of the reckoning. However sources in the OPS camp told IANS that the former Chief Minister and Sasikala can boost the support base of the party in the state, especially in Southern Tamil Nadu where the AIADMK has a strong base.

Dr. G. Padmanabhan, Director of think tank Socio-Economic Development Foundation, told IANS that “The AIADMK politics have a major connect with the powerful Thevar community, who have a major presence in South Tamil Nadu. It is natural for a politician like Panneerselvam to search for new permutations and combinations for his political survival and an alliance with Sasikala will be hugely beneficial for that.”

With the 2024 Lok Sabha elections round the corner, Panneerselvam will have to play his cards well to stage a comeback to the AIADMK. He knows that an alliance with Sasikala and backing from the Thevar community will help him achieve the goal.




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