EPS-OPS unity will stengthen Opposition in Tamil Nadu

Once the new rules are ratified by the AIADMK’s general council, party cadre may directly vote for the leadership who must contest on a single ticket.

Published: 06th December 2021 06:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th December 2021 06:20 AM   |  A+A-

Edappadi K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam released the manifesto which has 163 promises, at the party headquarters. (Photo | Ashwin Prasath, EPS)

Edappadi K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam. (Photo | Ashwin Prasath, EPS)

In yet another turn in the rollercoaster ride that is the AIADMK’s journey, the party last week formalised its current dual leadership by amending its bylaws. That the leaders, joint coordinator and former CM Edappadi K Palaniswami and coordinator and former deputy CM O Panneerselvam, did not see eye to eye was well known. Murmurs of Palaniswami seeking to solidify his position as party supremo have long done the rounds, with Panneerselvam being reportedly sidelined. Yet, days after a dramatic meeting in which senior party leaders made murmurs in favour of V K Sasikala’s return to the party, the leadership closed ranks against the late CM J Jayalalithaa’s confidante. More interestingly, by formalising dual leadership, the duo have yoked their fate to one another, with OPS’s position strengthened. 

Once the new rules are ratified by the AIADMK’s general council, party cadre may directly vote for the leadership who must contest on a single ticket. Win or lose, EPS and OPS must do it together, at least till such time another duo emerges with the support to challenge them. As of now, they are expected to win unopposed. 

The amendments, for now, close the door to the re-entry of Sasikala, who has been attempting to garner support since being released from prison after serving a sentence in a disproportionate assets case. This also comes as a confidence booster to the party’s rank and file, smarting after the loss in the Assembly elections. With long-delayed polls to Tamil Nadu’s urban local bodies around the corner, the cadre had expressed concerns that the leadership was not on the same page.

Further, there were fears that its space as the lead opposition party was being ceded to its ally, the BJP, which has made no bones about its desire to someday capture power in the state. The history of the AIADMK has been filled with dramatic twists and turns. The compromise among its top leaders comes amidst a series of probes launched by the ruling DMK against the AIADMK’s former ministers. A united front will not only ensure that the party has a fighting chance in the upcoming polls, it may also be essential in ensuring the voice of the state’s opposition rings loud and clear.


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