CHENNAI: In the wake of the AIADMK splitting up between interim general secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami and coordinator O Panneerselvam, hundreds of AIADMK cadre and party old-timers dating back to MGR Mandrams (MGR fan clubs) are distancing themselves from party activities.
These old-timers and party loyalists are now pained over the current developments in the party and are in a wait-and-watch mode. However, they will vow their loyalty to the party symbol “two leaves” and the party flag introduced by AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran.
“Most of us who worked actively during the days of MGR and Amma (Jayalalithaa) is now dormant in the current day politics, where money and muscle matter more,” says 82-year-old AIADMK veteran Deivasigamani, who was one of the founding members of the MGR Rasigar Mandram in the early 1960s.
“The Mandram members were absorbed into the AIADMK party floated by MGR. Going by the political developments I don’t think that EPS and OPS will unite hereafter and this is a drawback for the party that is fighting against the DMK since the 1970s. More than half of the MGR Mandram members have passed away and the remaining are sidelined by the current crop of leaders,” says Deivasigamani, who was fielded by MGR in the 1980 Assembly election in the Egmore constituency.
“For me, I will work for the party two leaves symbol and its flag introduced by our leader MGR, whether it is OPS or EPS going to lead the party is not an issue for followers of MGR. There are several AIADMK workers like me, who will associate only with the symbol and the flag of the party irrespective of the leadership,” adds Deivasigamani who had worked with MGR during the formation of the Mandram.
A few played a major role in the formation of MGR Mandram and the party during the early days. The list includes professor Edward Dhanraj, Thousand lights David, Tiruvannamalai Paun Kumar, Polur Jaya Govindan and Egmore Deivasigamani, recalls north Chennai MGR Mandram joint secretary Poonga Nagar Selvam.
In 1971, we formed the Engal Thangam Rasigar Mandram and later we were absorbed into the party, but only a very few rose to the ranks and the majority of them are just active party members. It is a fact that those who were in MGR Mandram are now inactive in politics. Postings and party seats in the elections are given only to those with money and power and this trend in AIADMK gained momentum from the 1991 elections, says Selvam.
MGR gave party seats for small petty shop owners and those from the lower income group, but now only crorepatis can aspire to contest the polls. Further, there is a faction feud in the party and this is a major reason forcing the fan followers of MGR and Amma to stay away from active politics, Selvam noted.