Chennai, June 19 (BPNS)
The opposition AIADMK is still in an imbroglio with the factions owing allegiance to former Chief Ministers, O. Panneerselvam and Edappadi K. Palaniswami wanted their leader to become the party general secretary. Sources in the AIADMK told BPNS that 11 of the 75 party district secretaries met O. Panneerselvam at his residence in Chennai and informed him of their support.
It may be noted that after the demise of former Chief Minister, J. Jayalalithaa, the AIADMK has been in a flux and to avoid a major split in the party, an adjustment is in place with O. Panneerselvam as the Chief coordinator and Edappadi K. Palaniswami as the coordinator. After successive electoral losses in the 2019 general elections, 2021 assembly elections, and in the rural local body polls and urban local body polls, discussions were rife on the shifting of the present dual leadership into the post of a single general secretary.
While those owing allegiance wants O. Panneerselvam as the party general secretary, the supporters of Edappadi K. Palaniswami is batting for their leader for the coveted post.
However, sources in the AIADMK told BPNS that it was not easy to zero in on a single leadership post for the party, and hence the present arrangement is likely to continue.
While a large number of second-rung leaders including former ministers D. Jayakumar and CVe Shanmugham have thrown their weight behind Edappadi K. Palaniswami, several local-level leaders have thrown their weight behind O. Panneerselvam.
Presently Edappadi K. Palaniswami’s faction seems to be gaining but AIADMK watchers are apprehensive that if he is made the General secretary, then the faction close to Panneerselvam may stage a washout of the party in its fiefdom of South Tamil Nadu. It may be noted that Panneerselvam is a leader from the powerful Thevar community that has a major presence in South Tamil Nadu.
Another factor that both O. Panneerselvam faction and Edappadi K. Palaniswami faction are fearing most is the emergence of former interim general secretary, V.K. Sasikala who was a close associate of J. Jayalalithaa.
Sasikala has already announced that she would be joining the party at the appropriate time.