Chennai: Within hours of their election as AIADMK Coordinator and Co-coordinator, O Panneerselvam and Edappadi K Palaniswami gave a clarion call for a State-wide agitation in all district headquarters on Thursday, December 9, at 10.30 am to condemn the DMK government’s cavalier attitude in addressing people’s problems.
Hitherto, bogged down by internal skirmishes in the party, particularly the challenge to their leadership from ousted general secretary V K Sasikala, the AIADMK was unable to take the DMK Government head on when the State BJP, under the leadership of K Annamalai, managed to organize a few protests and project itself as an opposition party.
The inability of the AIADMK to play the role of the main Opposition, which it is, had also caused some resentment among the cadre who felt that the BJP that won four seats in the Assembly elections with the support of the AIADMK was having a march over them in capturing the imagination of the people.
To shrug off the dormant image of the party, the AIADMK leaders felt the need to do something that would keep them in the limelight and thus relevant in the political arena. So, they wanted to settle the party issues quickly and then go for the jocular of the government in an effective manner.
Now that they have managed to keep Sasikala at bay, they are turning their guns at the government raising demands like the reduction of State taxes on petrol and diesel, providing rehabilitation packages for people affected by the recent rains, compensation for farmers who lost their crops and distribution of cash for people to celebrate Pongal.
The AIADMK, during the protest, would also condemn the government for the alleged closing down of Amma Mini Clinics, started by the AIADMK government, and for the inflation that has given rise to prices of essential commodities, besides demanding incentives for conservancy workers.
The leaders, in a joint statement, accused the government of not implementing the promises given during the elections though six months had lapsed since taking charge, indicating their resolve to start the fight.
They said that lakhs of people had lost their homes and livelihood in the recent rains but the government, least concerned about their plight, had not given them any relief.
Since the protest would enable the leaders of the party to reach out to the cadre at the grassroots level and also motivate them to stand united, the mobilization on Thursday would be utilized to canvas support for the present leaders and prevent them from being weaned away by the Sasikala camp.
However, to prove themselves to be the real Opposition party in the State, the AIADMK would have to show crowds in their protest venues across the State, which would also help them simultaneously drive home the point that the BJP did not enjoy popular support in the State.
Upstaging the BJP in terms of crowd mobilization is important for the AIADMK as its ally was charting its own course in opposing the DMK government and was also poaching AIADMK leaders despite the electoral alliance between them technically remaining intact.
Above all, for the AIADMK it is all the more important to invigorate its cadre at this point of time for the elections to the urban local bodies are round the corner. To infuse confidence among the party workers to fight the elections with verve, they have to give them opportunities to be politically active.
In view of all these facts, the AIADMK is likely to strive hard to make Thursday’s protest a grand success. And, as insiders say, this will be just a beginning for the party that has bigger plans to be engaged with the people continuously in the days to come....