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AIADMK MLAs meeting on Friday to choose legislative leader amidst OPS-EPS tussle

The meeting takes place in the backdrop of the assembly election results wherein, the AIADMK lost the battle against DMK, paving way for the later to return to power after a period of 10 years.

By: Express Web Desk | Chennai |
May 6, 2021 9:15:44 pm
O Panneerselvam, Edappadi KAIADMK leaders O Panneerselvam and Edappadi K Palaniswami. (File Photo: PTI)

A meeting of the newly elected All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) MLAs is scheduled to take place Friday at the party headquarters at Royapettah in Chennai.

The meeting takes place in the backdrop of the assembly election results wherein, the AIADMK lost the battle against DMK, paving way for the later to return to power after a period of 10 years.

The DMK-led alliance won 159 seats while the AIADMK grabbed 75 seats in the 234-member house. On their own, DMK won 133 and AIADMK netted 66 seats.

Over one third of the AIADMK ministers lost their seats in the assembly polls. Except for the western region, which has always remained an AIADMK fortress, the performance of the party in other regions was abysmal. In Chennai, the party lost all the 16 seats.

With the party and its cadres still taking time to come to terms with the loss and analyse what went wrong, there have been few rumblings inside the AIADMK camp. The party is split between party coordinator O Panneerselvam and joint coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswami over choosing AIADMK’s Legislature Leader.

In the past couple of days, a beeline of newly-elected MLAs has been witnessed at the residences of both Edappadi and Panneerselvam. B Valarmathi, one of the senior AIADMK members, also visited Edappadi at his residence. After the meeting, she told media persons that the newly-elected MLAs will decide the opposition leader. When asked about her purpose of the visit, she said it was a courtesy call and added that the party is above individuals and everyone will follow the decision of the party high command.

Party spokesperson Vaigaichelvan said there is absolutely no difference of opinion within the AIADMK camp and the process of electing the Leader of the Opposition would be conducted in a smooth manner.

“There is no problem at all. A decision would be taken tomorrow (Friday). Senior members are visiting them (EPS, OPS) as a courtesy call post the election results,” he told indianexpress.com.

However, few of the senior members, close to the party high command, have a different say. According to them, OPS had expressed his wish to become the Leader of the Opposition but EPS remains unmoved. In the meetings with senior leaders post the election results, OPS had claimed that some of the pre-poll decisions of EPS like announcing the 10.5 per cent reservation to the Vanniyar community has backfired for the party.

“It’s true that OPS expressed his desire to become the Leader of the Opposition having served as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in the absence of Amma. He sent his set of representatives including one of the senior party coordinators to speak to EPS over this but EPS is stubborn about being the face of the party. He feels that he has saved the party in tough times,” a senior party leader said.

Meanwhile, the DMK has sent an invite to both EPS and OPS for M K Stalin’s swearing-in ceremony scheduled to take place Friday at Raj Bhavan in Chennai.

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