Bumpy road ahead for Palaniswami as AIADMK chief

In its general council meeting on July 11, the AIADMK had paved the way for the crowning of Edappadi K. Palaniswami (EPS) as its interim general secretary and expelling of his opponent, O. Panneerselvam
AIADMK interim general secretary Edappadi K. Palaniswami
AIADMK interim general secretary Edappadi K. Palaniswami

CHENNAI: Newly-anointed AIADMK interim general secretary and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami is facing a tough time bringing up the party as a credible opposition amid the internal churn.

In its general council meeting on July 11, the AIADMK had paved the way for the crowning of Edappadi K. Palaniswami (EPS) as its interim general secretary and expelling of his opponent, O. Panneerselvam. With the majority in the general counsel and the support of second-rung leaders, EPS could achieve the feat and expel OPS from the party.

AIADMK interim general secretary Edappadi K. Palaniswami
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However, OPS has moved the Election Commission of India, Madras High Court, and the Supreme Court against it and has also written to the manager of Karur Vysya Bank, Mylapore branch not to allow anyone from operating the party accounts.

OPS, in his letter to the manager, said that he was still the treasurer of the party and that if anyone else was operating its multiple accounts in the bank, the manager would be held responsible. Notably, the July 11 general council meeting appointed senior party leader Dindigul C. Sreenivasan as the treasurer.

AIADMK interim general secretary Edappadi K. Palaniswami
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With the expulsion of OPS, V. K. Sasikala, and T.T.V. Dhinakaran, all from the Thevar community, the party has lost its grip among the traditional supporters, and with Palaniswami being a Gounder, it would be difficult for him to explain the void of these leaders.

The Thevar community of South Tamil Nadu has been traditional supporters of the AIADMK and with the expulsion of OPS, the bridge to the community has lost for the party.

Another challenge EPS is likely to face is the approach of the BJP, the ally of AIADMK which has not yet brought out any comment on the expulsion of OPS and the support to EPS. With an assertive leader like former IPS officer K. Annamalai at the helm of BJP affairs, it will be tough for EPS style of politics to have a comfortable working relationship with the saffron party. It has to be seen whether BJP will throw its weight behind OPS or support EPS in the long run.

AIADMK interim general secretary Edappadi K. Palaniswami
My only agenda is to unite AIADMK factions, says Sasikala

If EPS falls to steer AIADMK in turbulent times, then it would be curtains for the legacy of the party which has been either in power or in the opposition and in the limelight of Tamil Nadu politics. The party will have to give a lot of answers to the dedicated cadres who have been its mainstay.

With cases in court and petitions with Election Commission of India, it has to be seen how things are shaping up in AIADMK and whether the opposing factions find a common ground to settle differences.

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