O PaneerSelvam’s son ruffles party feathers on triple talaq bill

Social practices like these should not be forced on them as they become impediments to their development.

Chennai: The post-Jayalalithaa confusion and contradictions in the ruling AIADMK were yet again to the fore with senior minister, D Jayakumar distaning the party from its lone member in the Lok Sabha, O P Raveendranath Kumar, son of Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, on the Triple-Talaq issue.

Speaking on the Bill to ban Triple-Talaq in Parliament, Raveendranath had declared his total support for the legislation, going to great lengths in praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his farsighted measure that would guarantee equal opportunities for (Muslim) women, which would enable them to perform as good as the men. "So I support this Bill", said the first-time MP in his maiden speech.

"Social practices like these should not be forced on them as they become impediments to their development", said OPS' son, and asked, "Will they agree if the same law is adopted for Hindus also?"

He also claimed that women in India were treated with respect during the Vedic times but this deteriorated in the Middle Ages due to "various bad practices against women in the society". The Bill was passed on Thursday with the Opposition staging a walk-out in protest.

The AIADMK seniors are visibly embarrassed, even annoyed at the young MP from Theni for speaking out of tune with the party's oft-stated opposition to the Triple-Talaq legislation. The late Jayalalithaa had vociferously opposed it and only six months back, the party MPs had staged a walk-out on the Bill, with MP Anwar Rajhaa of Ramanathapuram even terming it 'barbaric' and infringing upon the fundamental rights of his Muslim community.

Media persons confronted Minister Jayakumar, during his LS poll campaign in Vellore on Sunday, with the question whether the stand taken by Raveendranath in the Lok Sabha in support of the Triple-Talaq Bill had the party's approval and if so, did the AIADMK change its position on this legislation.

Though he refrained from a direct attack on the party MP's support for the Bill, Jayakumar said enough to convey deep displeasure at it. "This has not yet become an Act. It has to come before the Rajya Sabha for that and we have our members there. We will state our position at that time", said Jayakumar, clearly indicating that the AIADMK has distanced itself from its convener OPS's son on this delicate issue, that has hit the party at a delicate time - the LS election in the Muslim-dominated Vellore constituency.

AIADMK sources say that Raveendranath did not have the approval of the party when he spoke in
support of the Bill. "Perhaps he got the OK from his father, but that's not enough. The Chief Minister (Edappadi Palaniswami) must be surely unhappy with this", said a AIADMK senior, requesting anonymity. "Let the bosses sort out the matter, we will wait", he added.

The bosses, CM Edappadi Palaniswami and Deputy CM Panneerselvam are said to have serious differences but they are kept together with glue from Delhi. OPS has been trying hard to get a berth in the Union Cabinet for his son Raveendranath but reports say Edappadi has blocked it.

The BJP offered only one berth for the AIADMK and while OPS wants it for his son, EPS has backed senior member R Vaithilingam, sources said.

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