ARIYALUR: In the first public appearance since the merger of the two factions of AIADMK, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam used the birth centenary celebrations of party founder M G Ramachandran to launch a veiled attack on V Dhivakaran, brother of VK Sasikala, who had been criticisng the merger.
Appealing to cadre to stay united and strengthen the party, Palaniswami said people who were with the party and government till a few days ago were criticising the government now. Though the MGR centenary celebration meetings were held on five occasions earlier across the State, Wednesday’s meeting was keenly watched as it was first public meeting after the two factions buried the hatchet.
“Unity is the best tribute we can pay to our beloved Amma. A few forces are trying to trouble both the government and party, but the present government is being on the ideals envisaged by former Chief Ministers M G Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa, and nobody can topple us,” said Palaniswami who delivered one of the longest speeches in the centenary meetings thus far. He also listed out various welfare schemes of the State government.
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Narrating a story, Palaniswami said “There was a saint who was preaching in a village. Though the village was well-populated, only few came to listen. Because there was no unity, they were sitting in groups. He came up with a plan to unite people by tying a rope on their wrists and asked the participating people to tie such ropes to three people they like before attending the meeting next week.”
Amidst cheer, Panneerselvam, who was surprised at being called to address the meeting, said, “I wasn’t sure whether I would be attending such a meeting. We all are the same, and no power can topple the government or the party. The AIADMK will continue to rule the State for years,” he said.
Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal who has been proposed as Chief Ministerial candidate by Divakaran said the CM and the Deputy Chief Minister would join hands to lead the government as former CM J Jayalalithaa did.
The stage was teeming with Ministers including Ma Foi Pandiarajan, the newly inducted minister.
Ariyalur: Visibly happy at the merger, cadres expressed the wish that they would like to see TTV Dinakaran also join hands with EPS and OPS and work to strengthen the party.
A Panneer, cadre from Velur near Ariyalur said, “AIADMK is a party groomed by late chief ministers MGR and Jayalalithaa. The present leaders should not break the party. Instead of revolting against the government, MLAs siding with TTV Dinakaran should work with the Palaniswami led government.”
S Ramalingam, AIADMK cadre from Paluvur regretted the recent revolt of 19 AIADMK MLAs withdrawing support for the Palaniswami government. “All AIADMK MLAs should stay together to save the government that was formed due to the hard work of late CM J Jayalalithaa,” he added.
OPS charms crowd
In his maiden MGR Centenary meeting, O Panneerselvam was cheered all the way by a set of cadres on Wednesday. Though the chief minister preferred to leave the dais by walking for a short distance before boarding his vehicle, Panneerselvam preferred to walk comparatively longer distance for his convoy and also reached out to crowds all the way who were waving hands at him.
The leader even went onto lift a toddler dressed up in the attire of MGR, to the delight of cadre.