CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu's opposition AIADMK is still in an imbroglio situation with the factions owing allegiance to former Chief Ministers O. Panneerselvam and K. Palaniswami wanting their leaders to become the party General Secretary.
Sources in the AIADMK told IANS that 11 of the 75 party District Secretaries met Panneerselvam at his residence in Chennai and informed him of their support.
After the demise of Chief Minister, J. Jayalalithaa, in 2016, the AIADMK has been in a flux and to avoid a major split in the party, an adjustment is in place with Panneerselvam as the Chief Coordinator and Palaniswami as the coordinator. After successive electoral losses in the 2019 general elections, 2021 Assembly elections, and in the rural local body polls and urban local body polls, discussions were rife on the shifting of the present dual leadership into the post of a single General Secretary.
While those owing allegiance want Panneerselvam as the party chief, the supporters of Palaniswami are batting for their leader for the coveted post.
However, sources in the AIADMK told IANS that it was not easy to zero in on a single leadership post for the party, and hence the present arrangement is likely to continue.
While a large number of second-rung leaders including former ministers D. Jayakumar and CVe Shanmugham have thrown their weight behind Palaniswami, several local-level leaders back Panneerselvam.
Presently the Palaniswami faction seems to be gaining ground but AIADMK watchers are apprehensive that if he is made the General Secretary, then the faction close to Panneerselvam may stage a washout of the party in its fiefdom of south Tamil Nadu. Panneerselvam is from the Thevar community that has a major presence in the region.
Another factor that both the Panneerselvam and Edappadi Palaniswami factions are fearing most is the emergence of former interim General Secretary, V.K. Sasikala who was a close associate of Jayalalithaa.
Sasikala has already announced that she would be joining the party at the appropriate time.