TIRUCHY: Amid celebrations over the announcement of Edappadi K Palaniswami as chief minister candidate in 2021, a section of AIADMK cadre in the central districts expressed disappointment as no leader from the region made it to the 11-member steering committee formed on Wednesday. Not just in the steering committee, no leader from the central districts finds a place in any top post in the ruling party.
The central region includes Ariyalur, Perambalur, Tiruchy, Karur and Pudukkottai districts. Tiruchy is an integral part of the State’s politics. Several stalwarts emerged from here and the region enjoys a symbiotic relationship with Dravidian parties.
Its strategic location in the central part of the State made Tiruchy a politically vibrant place. Former CM M Karunanidhi made his electoral debut from Kulithalai near Tiruchy. Karunanidhi preferred to conduct DMK’s State-level conferences in Tiruchy.
His arch rival and former chief minister Jayalalithaa gave political impetus to the region by contesting from Srirangam. But Tiruchy has seemingly slipped away from AIADMK’s radar, going by recent developments. While leaders from Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai have got representation in the steering committee, Tiruchy has got none.
This despite the fact that the AIADMK won 15 of the 24 Assembly segments in the central region in 2016. Further, well-known faces including Ministers Vellamandi N Natarajan, S Valarmathi, C Vijayabaskar, M R Vijayabaskar, Chief Government Whip Thamarai S Rajendran, and several veterans are from the region, but none has made it to steering committee or any top post. Only member in the panel who is close to region is Minister R Kamaraj who hails from Tiruvarur.
Rajya Sabha MP and deputy coordinator R Vaithilingam, who is from Thanjavur, is another top office bearer who is close to this region. With no representation in the top echelons, cadres wonder how aspirations, interests and problems of Tiruchy and surrounding districts could be represented while the party is taking vital decisions.
What is causing more worry for grass-root level workers of the AIADMK is that rival DMK elevating leaders from the region. MLA and former minister K N Nehru, who is from Tiruchy, was made the Principal Secretary of the party.
A senior functionary of AIADMK in Tiruchy summed up the expectation of cadres thus : “The party got a setback in Tiruchy in the local body (rural) elections. In order to regain space, the district has to be given importance by the high command. But there is no one from the central region to represent in the party’s vital affairs.”