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V.K. Sasikala to emerge as a major focal point in AIADMK after urban poll rout

- February 23, 2022

Chennai, Feb 23 (IANS)

The rout of the AIADMK in the Urban Local body polls will bring in major questions to be answered by the present leadership of the party led by two former Chief Ministers, O. Panneerselvam and Edappadi. K. Palaniswami.

It may be noted that the DMK returned to power after a gap of ten years in 2021 and in ensuing rural local body polls for the nine new districts, the DMK front won handsomely giving the opposition AIADMK no chance in the hustings.

The heavy lose in the Urban local body polls is a final nail in the coffin to the present leadership of the party and rumblings is scheduled to come up in the party in the coming few days.

V.K. Sasikala, the estranged interim general secretary of the AIADMK is waiting and watching the developments in the main opposition party and the possibility of the former aide of Late J. Jayalalitha jumping into taking over the party is not remote.

The former interim general secretary who was expelled from the AIADMK by the dual leadership of OPS and EPS and Sasikala with her fighting spirit of her Thevar community is likely to try and get the reins of the party.

She was working in the backroom ever since she has come back from the Central prison in Bengaluru and has been in regular touch with party leaders and cadres across the state. V. K. Sasikala has already set up a team to connect her to the party cadres and leaders across the state and the powerful Thevar community to which she belongs is also supporting her.

AIADMK Chief Coordinator and former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, O. Pannerselvam also belongs to the Thevar community and backroom negotiations between Sasikala and OPS had taken place a couple of times at the instance of the Thevar community elders.

However, the Edappadi Palaniswami faction of the party including D. Jayakumar,CVe Shanmugham, and a few other leaders, were opposed to her reentry to the party. The total rout of the party in the Urban polls including losing seats in the home constituencies of Edappadi and Palaniwami will be a major factor wherein the leaders opposed to her entry cannot do much.

While Sasikala is not a natural leader like the late leaders of the party like MGR or Jayalalithaa, she can emerge as a factor to unite the warring party factions and a common factor leading to the party’s resurgence among the cadres.

The next big challenge for the party will be the 2024 general elections and BJP had announced before the Urban polls that it was snapping the relationship with the Dravidian party only for the local polls and will continue the alliance in both loksabha and assembly elections.

Dr. R. Umamaheswari, Political analyst and Professor of political science in a Chennai college while speaking to IANS said, “ AIADMK after the urban local body elections have diminished in strength and the presence of a leader who can command the respect of both OPS and EPS factions is important for the resurgence of the party. While there may be stiff opposition from the EPS section for the entry of Sasikala but ultimately they will have to budge and relent. The possibility of Sasikala emerging as a power centre and taking control of AIADMK is not very remote.”

Another factor is the performance of Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK), the political outfit of her nephew, TTV Dhinakaran. The party has got  102 seats across the state and has got a good presence in South Tamil Nadu. On close analysis, the AMMK has put acted as a deterrent in the fortunes of AIADMK   in several seats of South Tamil Nadu and if Sasikala is back in AIADMK, then naturally the support base of the AMMK will also come back to the AIADMK.

The OPS camp can easily state that the presence of AMMK had led to a major debacle in the South and can push in for the entry of Sasikala back to the party fold. The opposition from the EPS camp will be feeble as the party was crushed in the strongholds of EPS in Western Tamil Nadu including Coimbatore, Erode, and Salem.

The major loss of the AIADMK in the Urban local polls will lead to several interesting developments in the party in the coming days and V.K. Sasikala taking over the reins of the party in the foreseeable future is certainly a possibility.