Tamil Nadu: EPS in a dilemma over future of AIADMK

Chennai: AIADMK general secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami called for a meeting of the party’s top honchos in Salem on Tuesday that saw many of the leaders preferring to bring in all former party acolytes, now in different camps with disparate mooring, under a single umbrella to form a united party that will take on the DMK in the 2026 Assembly election with adequate verve and gusto.

Since Palaniswami has been having reservations about allowing ousted general secretary V K Sasikala, former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and AMMK founder T T V Dinakaran to come into the party fold again,, the meeting could not arrive at a consensus on the future course of action though all the participants had only one agenda: Winning the 2026 Assembly polls.

Some of the leaders, who had earlier stood solidly behind Palaniswami in all his moves, would now like to see the recreation of the old united AIADMK that would romp home in the elections and bring the party back to glory. They expressed concern over the results of the Lok Sabha polls in which the party received a drubbing by finishing third in some constituencies and even losing the deposit in a few.

To pull back the party back from the abyss that it had slid into, the support of all the old acolytes of J Jayalalithaa and even MGR would be required they felt and hence wanted to not leave out anyone from the fold, even V K Sasiskala who was ousted in a sort of unanimously manner by all of them then.

Though there is widespread anger against Panneerselvam for fighting against the ‘Two Leaves’ symbol in the elections, the leaders feel that letting him in to the party fold could help them in the elections since it would prevent the scattering of the traditional votes.

Many leaders are also not averse to the idea of letting Sasikala come back to the party. On her part, Sasiskala is also making efforts to reach out to party functionaries now. Now that she has reportedly cleared many of the obstacles she faced from the various enforcement agencies that had earlier sealed her properties and frozen her bank accounts, he is out to return to the party fold.

While Dinakaran could be left out as he had launched his own party, operating independently, Sasikala and Panneerselvam are still claiming to be part of the AIADMK and only want to be readmitted formally into it, many leaders say. Hence they have no objection to their coming back.

Sasikala has recently announced that 90 per cent of the work that she had undertaken to integrate the party was over and that she was all set to go around the State and complete the rest of the process. It is said that Sasikala, Paneerselvam and Dinkaran are aiming to do something about the integration of the party by October 17, the party’s founding day.

So, there is a talk that if Palaniswami remains adamant in his stand he could be isolated. Even if some of his supporters take the same stand that other than the trio everyone else could be let in, they too could be isolated and a show of unity should be put up by October 17 to send across the message that the AIADMK is one entity.

Whatever it is, the stiff opposition to the entry of Sasikala, Panneerselvam and Dinakaran into the AIADMK has weakened following the electoral debacles that many attribute to the fissures in the party. But how the unity is going to come about is not clear as of now.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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