Both the leaders known for their aggressive behaviour with AIADMK seniors have made sure that their recommendations are not overlooked by assertive Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami or party convenor and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam.
“Though EPS and OPS got the lion share by appointing their loyalists for the powerful post of district secretaries, Vaithilingam and Shanmugam were clear with their stand, stamping their regional authority that they would not compromise with the bifurcation or removing their loyalists from the key district secretary posts,” a former MLA and party senior told DT Next.
As a result, the names suggested and favoured by high profile Ministers SP Velumani and P Thangamani have to be restricted within their home terrain of Coimbatore and Namakkal. Certain names pitched in by other Ministers and Ministers without the district secretary posts were also left to fend for themselves.
Several dissents have also mushroomed within the AIADMK as some of the former MPs and MLAs who aspired for the district secretary posts are now disappointed, multiple party sources confirmed.
In the first round, the AIADMK has not appointed any leaders from the Brahmin and Muslim communities. Though a few names were discussed, the party leaders decided to give them MLA seats during the next year Assembly elections, another source said confirming that the papers cleared by the Chief Minister were put on hold by party convenor Panneerselvam on two occasions. However, an assertive EPS was able to console OPS by pushing in more of his loyalists to get the coveted post of district secretaries, the senior said.
“The appointment of new district secretaries and headquarters office-bearers in the party was long overdue, but it was speeded up for two reasons. First the expected arrival of AMMK leader VK Sasikala from Bengaluru jail. Second to address the growing dissent among party seniors by creating more posts,” the senior added.
“The party has increased the district units across the state as a result there are four to five district secretaries within a district. This will only create more confusion and the dissents will join AMMK, once when our party leader chinnama (Sasikala) is out of jail,” AMMK leader P Vetterivel told this paper. Too many cooks will spoil the broth, he added.
When contacted an AIADMK spokesperson said that all is well with the party. Former party supremo J Jayalalithaa had also increased the number of district secretaries ahead of elections and this is a strategy which all parties do. AIADMK is a democratic party and so the top leaders all sat together and decided the best list of district secretaries, the AIADMK senior said.