AIADMK's succession war gets rancorous with no rapprochement in the offing
CHENNAI: Change of guard has never been a smooth affair in the AIADMK, post founder and iconic leader MG Ramachandran, Puratchi Thalaivar (revolutionary leader), as he was hailed.
The party with 1.5 crore cadres, which supremo and former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa always took pride in, is witnessing a rancorous leadership tussle with no rapprochement in the offing.
Both the former Chief Ministers O Panneerselvam, harping on an united AIADMK's dual leadership, and K Palaniswami, adamant on not reconciling to the proposal, would be attending the brief Assembly session next week, as leaders heading two factions of the AIADMK.
Strangely, both have reposed faith in the Assembly Speaker to recognise their groups. As per the present seating arrangement, both Palaniswami and Panneerselvam occupy the first row, together, facing Chief Minister M K Stalin and the Treasury benches.
On October 17, the day former Chief Minister M G Ramachandran (MGR) founded the party in 1972, the AIADMK would be celebrating the 51st foundation day as a divided house.
Former state Minister and Palaniswami's supporter K P Munusamy lashed out at Panneerselvam for not coming forward to support Palaniswami on the single leadership issue. "Instead of accepting the single leadership in the party, Panneerselvam sullied the AIADMK's image by adopting all sorts of tactics and even dragged the party to the court," he claimed.
"Panneerselvam enjoyed several high positions in the party without making any sacrifices. He is comfortable in every way now," Munuswamy alleged.
After MGR's demise the party split. Then, though backed by former Minister R M Veerappan, Janaki Ramachandran handed over the AIADMK, founded by her husband, to "revolutionary leader" Jayalalithaa to protect the party, Munusamy claimed.
"Panneerselvam rose to occupy the top position, due to some circumstances. He should have realised that he rose in stature and got an identity because of the AIADMK and should have agreed to Palaniswami's leadership. Instead he is displaying his selfish intentions," Munusamy charged.
Panneerselvam supporter JCD Prabhakar, recently, raked the alleged scam in the rival faction and stated he was prepared to reveal the secret if his leader gave him the nod.
Former lawmaker and AIADMK state legal wing joint secretary R M Babu Murugavel denied that factionalism in the AIADMK is giving space for the BJP to grow in Tamil Nadu as a single largest opposition party to take on the ruling DMK.
"The BJP has an ambition to emerge as a strong force. But, this doesn't mean we are getting relegated. No party can replace us. We still have the largest vote share in the state," he said.
Murugavel claimed that Palaniswami is certain to lead the party to victory in the next Assembly elections and form the government and recalled his (Palaniswami's) assertion that those working against AIADMK's interests will disappear into thin air.
BJP state vice-president Karu Nagarajan however, says his party has been taking up people's issues and staging agitations more than what the principal opposition AIADMK has been doing.
"I am not saying that Palaniswami or his AIADMK is not functioning as an opposition party. The BJP is functioning more as a dynamic opposition party compared to the AIADMK," he said.
Palaniswami and Panneerselvam have been at loggerheads in the recent past with the former claiming that he is the interim general secretary of the party amid claims and counter-claims on the leadership issue.