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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Edappadi Palaniswami is AIADMK’s Chief Ministerial candidate for 2021 election

A 11-member steering committee, a key demand of the OPS faction since merging with EPS camp in 2017, has been constituted to oversee the election campaign. Five of the members are from the camp of O Pannerselvam, who was in race to be the face of the party.

Written by Janardhan Koushik | Chennai | Updated: October 7, 2020 12:19:43 pm
Edapaddi Palanisami, O Pannerselvam, EPS, OPS,Edappadi Palanisami (right) with his deputy O Pannerselvam at an event. (file photo)

The leadership tussle brewing between Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) and his deputy  O Pannerselvam (OPS) for more than 50 days ended on Wednesday, with the AIADMK announcing the former as its Chief Ministerial candidate for the 2021 assembly election.

A 11-member steering committee, a key demand of Pannerselvam after merging with EPS camp, will also be formed to manage the party affairs. Ministers Dindigul Srinivasan, P Thangamani, SP Velumani, D Jayakumar, CV Shanmugam, R Kamaraj, and another senior AIADMK cadre JCD Prabhakaran, PS Manoj Pandian, PA. Mohan, Gopalakrishnan, K.Manickam were announced as the panel members.


Differences between EPS and OPS came out in the open, causing much embarrassment to the party, with senior ministers taking side. According to reports, the conflict took center stage when OPS supporters struck posters across Bodinayakanur in the Theni district (the hometown of OPS) projecting him as the next Chief Minister candidate. Though the posters were immediately removed after OPS intervention, the incident caused did not go down well with the party leadership. To stop the situation escalating, both EPS and OPS issued a joint statement on August 15 saying stringent action will be taken against those who speak about the party affairs in public without the approval of the party high command.

A few weeks later, OPS announced a meeting of the party high-level committee on September 18. As the meeting didn’t go as per the plan, on September 28, an exclusive party council meeting was held at the party headquarters in Chennai. After a five-hour marathon meet, the party’s deputy coordinator KP Munusamy said AIADMK will stay united and the CM candidate of the party will be announced on October 7.

In the following days, the discord between the two AIADMK leaders reached a point where OPS even skipped a Covid-19 review meeting called by the Chief Minister. However, he took part in another meeting the very next day. The senior leaders of the party kept shuttling between the residence of OPS and EPS in Greenways Road in Chennai persuading both of them to fall in line for the welfare of the party. Despite visible signs of discord, the AIADMK office bearers downplayed the differences.

On October 2, amid the evolving conflict, the two leaders attended events together to commemorate Gandhi Jayanthi. A few days later, the party’s official Twitter handle posted that all the AIADMK MLAs have been instructed to assemble at the headquarters on October 6 ahead of the council meeting. However, within a few hours, the post was removed.

On Monday, the Deputy Chief Minister posted a cryptic tweet in which he said he had taken all the decisions considering the welfare of people of Tamil Nadu and AIADMK cadres and, in the future too, he would continue to do the same. Quoting a verse from Bhagavad Gita, OPS said, “Whatever has happened it’s happened for the good. Whatever is happening is happening for the good. Whatever will happen, will also happen for the good.”


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