AIADMK Spat: OPS Tweets He Will Take A Decision Keeping People's 'Welfare' In Mind, Creates Flutter

AIADMK Spat: OPS Tweets He Will Take A Decision Keeping People's 'Welfare' In Mind, Creates Flutter  O Panneerselvam (Facebook)
Snapshot
  • Political observers see the tweet as an unmistakable sign of his wanting to breakaway from the AIADMK.

    A split in the AIADMK will definitely leave the DMK, which is trying to regain power after 2011, with a clear advantage.

Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam (OPS) has created a flutter in the State political circles with his tweet that “any decision” he takes will be for the “welfare” of the people and of the workers of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).

Quoting the Bhagavad Gita, OPS said whatever has happened in the past is for good, whatever is happening now is for good and whatever will happen in future will be for good.

Political observers see the tweet as an unmistakable sign of his wanting to breakaway from the AIADMK, which he had returned to in mid-2017 after being forced to lead a faction when he was replaced as the State chief minister by Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) in February that year.

EPS was handpicked by the late chief minister and AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa’s aide Sasikala Natarjan in February 2017 after OPS refused to vacate the chief minister’s seat in her favour.

Natarajan couldn’t become the chief minister as the Supreme Court found her guilty in amassing assets disproportionate to her known sources of income. She is currently serving a four-year prison term in the Bengaluru Parppana Agrahara central prison.

In fact, OPS voted against EPS in the confidence motion in the Tamil Nadu Assembly in February 2017. Both patched their differences and came together when Natarajan’s nephew TTV Dinakaran tried to take over the reins of the State in May that year.

OPS claims that he was asked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to close ranks with EPS and “settle for the deputy chief minister for the current term”. This has now become the main bone of contention between the two.

The AIADMK is now split between the OPS and EPS camps. The latter is insisting that the party project a chief ministerial candidate ahead of the State Assembly elections due in April next year.

The EPS camp insists that the party has to project a chief minister as the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the principal Opposition party, has projected its president M K Stalin as its chief ministerial candidate.

OPS is opposed to this move and has asked EPS to set up an 11-member steering committee as agreed by the latter when they patched up their differences. While the OPS camp wants the steering committee to decide on these issues, EPS camp says both issues could be addressed separately.

With no common meeting point appearing on the horizon, OPS has returned to his native Madurai district.

In Theni, the only Lok Sabha constituency from where AIADMK and National Democratic Alliance won a seat in last year’s elections, huge cutouts have appeared projecting OPS as the next chief minister.

The Theni Lok Sabha seat was won by OPS' son Raveendranath. The Deputy Chief Minister is now reported to be in a huddle to chalk out his next strategy.

It is during this time that OPS tweeted that he would take a decision in the “welfare” of the people and party workers. The tweet has had its impact as EPS has held urgent meetings with his trusted aides, including at least a dozen State ministers.

An executive meeting of the AIADMK last week decided that both the camps would meet to find a solution and the party would declare its chief ministerial candidate on 8 October.

Attempts to find a solution have been elusive until now and with two days for the deadline to expire, OPS' tweet left tongues wagging among politicians, analysts and party workers.

A split in the AIADMK will definitely leave the DMK, which is trying to regain power after 2011, with a clear advantage. It is a million dollar question if the AIADMK will hand things on a platter to DMK, its bitter rival.

M.R. Subramani is Executive Editor, Swarajya. He tweets @mrsubramani

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