In the recent assembly elections, the BJP was able to wrest four assembly seats in an alliance with the AIADMK and the PMK. The saffron party now wants to take this forward and become a major political force in the state.
While the AIADMK is presently being led by former Chief Ministers and senior leaders O. Panneerselvam and Edappadi K Palaniswami, there is growing unrest among the party cadres against the style of functioning of Pannseerselvam and about his waning clout in his home turf of Theni district.
In the 2021 assembly elections, the AIADMK could win only the Bodinaikar seat of Panneerselvam in the predominantly Thevar dominated Theni district. In Salem, the home turf of Palaniswami, the party could win all but one assembly seat thus leading to the growing clout of Palaniswami among the cadres and leaders.
The AIADMK cadres were apprehensive about Panneerselvam not coming out strongly against expelled former party interim general secretary V.K. Sasikala as both are from the powerful Thevar community which has dominance in the southern belts of Tamil Nadu including Theni district. Sasikala has been trying to contact party cadres and lower level functionaries and this has been causing a lot of heartburn within the party.
After the New Delhi visit of EPS and OPS and meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, OPS has come out against Sasikala. A large section of the party is of the opinion that Palaniswami with a clean slate should lead the AIADMK from the front and not a dual leadership.
Palaniswami has immense clout in his home turf of Salem and among his Gounder community but the same cannot be said of Panneerselvam as the election results in his home district, Theni showed.