Chennai, Sept 13 (BPNS)
The powerful Thevar community of 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 BPNS that in the past few days, serious deliberations and discussions were taking 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 Jayalalithaa as Sasikala was calling the shots for the community and there is a feeling in the community that is marginalized 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 BPNS that Thevar’s did not vote for the AIADMK in large numbers as there was a general feeling that after Edappadi K. Palaniswami, himself being 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 Edappadi K. Palaniswami and those close to him who are in command of the AIADMK while both OPS and V.K. Sasikala are out of the reckoning. However sources in the OPS camp told BPNS that the former Chief Minister and V.K.Sasikala can fan up the support base for the party in Tamil Nadu, especially in Southern Tamil Nadu where the AIADMK has a base.
Dr. G. Padmanabhan, Director, Socio-Economic Development Foundation, a think tank based out of Maduari while speaking to BPNS said, “ The AIADMK politics have a major connect with the powerful Thevar community, who has a major dominance in South Tamil Nadu. It is natural for a politician like O. Panneerselvam to search new avenues and new permutations and combinations for his political survival and an alliance with V.K. Sasikala will be hugely beneficial for that.”
With the 2024 loksabha elections round the corner O. Panneerselvam will have to play his cards close to his chest to stage a grand come back to AIADMK and he knows that the alliance with Sasikala and backing from the community will help him achieve the goal.