End of one-man show in Salem, unit now under DMK high command - The New Indian Express

End of one-man show in Salem, unit now under DMK high command

Published: 26th November 2012 10:44 AM

Last Updated: 26th November 2012 10:44 AM

With Veerpandi Arumugam’s demise, the one man show in the district unit of the DMK seems to have come to an end. From now on, the party high command will call the shots over the affairs of the district unit, said party insiders.

While front ranking leaders from the Stalin camp and staunch disciples of Veerapandi Arumugam were clearly on two different platforms, none would dare to come out openly about it. While the reason for this, to an extent, could be genuine grief, it was also true that the local leaders would not like to incur the wrath of the high command by speaking their minds, especially at a time when their local boss is no more to protect them.

Among Arumugam’s staunch followers were his own family members and relatives - A Raja and K Suresh Kumar. S R Sivalingam, deputy secretary of the unit, was the de facto second-in-command. A host of union-level and branch-level functionaries were with Arumugam but Stalin loyalists made a big dent into his strong base during the last DMK Youth Wing election.

The Stalin camp now has Advocate Rajenderan, former Mayor Dr Soodamani, former Deputy Mayor G K Subash, and the urban secretary of the DMK and a long time councillor of Salem Corporation S D Kalaiamuthan. Gunasekaran, advocate, former councillor and a front-ranking Stalin loyalist, had patched up with Arumguam when he could no longer claim sole leadership over the Stalin faction but he remained a Stalin loyalist.

In the midst of all this, T M Selvaganapathy, who switched ranks from the AIADMK in 2009, emerged as a major force to reckon with. Arumugam had welcomed him into the fold and given him prominence, but he also struck a personal rapport with Stalin.

A heavyweight with a mass following next only to Arumugam, the Jawaharlal Nehru University-education lawyer and former minister in Jayalalithaa’s cabinet was an obvious pick for the Rajya Sabha post.  With party elections just a few months away, it would be interesting to observe how the party would reconcile these forces and still keep a hold over the cadre. That the party high command has taken control of the Salem unit was evident in the short condolence meeting organised for Veerapandi Arumugam that lasted barely 30 minutes. Only four persons, including one from Congress and another from the VCK, were allowed to speak. From the party, Stalin and Duraimurugan offered tributes.

District Deputy Secretary S R Sivalingam said the leadership transition would be procedural and in accordance to party constitution. A preliminary meeting of the five governing members of the district committee would deliberate over the transition and inform party high command about the decision.

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