The caste calculation behind reorganisation of Salem unit of the DMK stands exposed. That Stalin is keen on pitting a popular Vanniyar face in the backyard of Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami was evident from the engagements of newly appointed Salem district in-charge TM Selvaganapathy.
The meeting has raised many an eyebrow among some prominent members of the community, some of whom were making fuss over the DMK high command replacing former DMK minister’s son Veerapandi A Raja with Selvaganapathy (one Vanniyar with another). Inquiries revealed that the meeting was facilitated by Muthulakshmi’s son-in-law who is a member of Tamizhaga Valvurimai Katchi, an ally of the DMK.
Even Selvaganapathy, on his part, had called on his predecessor A Raja to negate the negative campaign run by the PMK, which had expressed its newfound love for former DMK minister Veerapandi S Arumugam, the same DMK veteran who it had fought tooth and nail once.
PMK leadership, which was understood to have made the moves to lure Raja to the party, had even rushed to the defense of the former DMK district secretary who drew the ire of the leadership for allegedly colluding with ruling AIADMK during the recently concluded local body polls.
Selvaganapathy, who caught whiff of the PMK campaign, was quick in calling on his colleague Veerapandi A Raja to diffuse tension among his community members. Further inquiries revealed that Selvaganapathy, who was the poll manager for even late M Karunanidhi in Tiruvarur, was Stalin’s trump card to upset a shocker in the 2021 Assembly polls in Chief Minister’s native Edappadi constituency.
Even DMK insiders admitted under condition of anonymity that Selvaganapathy was the ideal choice given his influence in the region, especially among the community. “Even during his time in AIADMK, he was more powerful and popular than the party’s district secretaries. His personal popularity among the voters and the community would be of great help to revive the party in a faction ridden district. The appointment should have been done much earlier,” remarked a party senior who did not wish to be named.
“He knew he must take on two strong enemies, PMK and AIADMK in the district. He did not want to be identified as a person antagonising the son of Veerapandi Arumugam. Hence, the quick meeting with Raja,” he added.