Fate of EPS, AIADMK hinge on LS results

Chennai: Emerging out her polling station on Election Day, V K Sasikala, the ousted AIADMK general secretary and erstwhile close confidante of the late J Jayalalithaa, said the results of the Lok Sabha polls would lead to some persons who had committed mistakes to correct themselves, apparently referring to AIADMK general secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami and indirectly expressing her own wish for the party’s debacle.

Whether her wish comes true or not, it is on the election results, expected to be out on June 4, hinge the future of Palaniswami and also that of the AIADMK party that led a coalition to fight the April 19 elections in the State with the DMDK and SDPI as key allies.

While Sasikala wants Palaniswami to relent on his stubborn insistence on not letting her and some others like former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and AMMK founder T T V Dinakaran back into the party, the present leaders of the AIADMK are concerned about the party finishing behind the BJP in the elections for other reasons.

Palaniswami and his acolytes, who did not apparently put much efforts during the campaign to achieve a thumping victory when compared to the work done by the DMK and the BJP, hope the AIADMK to retain the second position in the State both in terms of vote share and in winning seats. Otherwise, they fear the eruption of an internal revolt in the form of a demand to call for the general council meeting to take stock of the situation.

Sasikala, Dinakaran and others, too, are waiting for such a moment to bring about a change in the party leadership that would at least dilute Palaniswami’s powers and make him and his close associates admit them back into the party. Dinakaran, on the day of elections, said that he and his supporters were also followers of Jayalalithaa, suggesting the coming together of the now splintered groups of the AIADMK.

Such a change in the AIADMK leadership could also force the party to reconsider its alliance with the BJP. If the AIADMK finishes behind the BJP in the elections, even without Sasikala and Dinakaran coming in, those in the party who had been opposing the break up with the BJP will gain an upper hand and demand the restoration of the broken alliance.

If the results hand over the party's aspired second position in the State, Palaniswami’s leadership will not be questioned and the BJP may well have to do with the support of Dinakaran and Panneerelvam alone. Palaniswami will also stand vindicated of his decision to break out from the BJP’s hold.

However, if the BJP manages to march over the AIADMK, it is not only Palaniswami who stands to lose his control over the party but there is a possibility of the BJP running roughshod over it by not only reconverting it as its ally but also engineering defections.

Detractors of Palaniswami have been pointing out that the AIADMK has already lost nine elections – including by elections, local body polls and others included – after taking over the reins of the party and might hence go for his scalp if the tenth rout happens.

Above all, another electoral defeat could weaken the party at the grassroots level, which has hitherto not happened, for there could be large scale defections and loss of confidence in the leadership. So, the image of a ‘two crore member strong organization’ that Palaniswami managed to create could be shattered.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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