As the rift in AIADMK started widening after its disastrous performance in the just held Lok Sabha and Tamil Nadu Assembly by-elections with two MLAs pointing finger at dual leadership, particularly at Deputy Chief Minister O Pannerselvam, the party has issued a statement asking leaders not to air their views in the public.
In a show of unity, O Pannerselvam in his capacity as convenor and Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisami as joint convenor have issued a joint statement asking leaders not to air their views in the public .
In another damage control move, the party has called a meeting of district secretaries and MLAs in Chennai on June 12 to take stock of the post-poll rumblings.After Madurai MLA and district secretary Rajan Chellappa fired salvo against O Pannerselvam, one more MLA Ramachandran has started criticising the leaders.
Chellappa in effect said that Pannerselvam only worked to promote his son Ravindranath’s success in Theni Lok Sabha elections and not for the party. Carrying it one step further, Ramachandran said Pannerselvam, who revolted against V K Sasikala’s takeover of the party after the death of J Jayalalitha was making the same mistake by promoting his son.
Referring to the visit of Pannerselvam and Edappadi to New Delhi for the swearing-in of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister for the second term, he asked why AIADMK was not included. Apparently referring to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s statement that he refused to join as the BJP was willing to give only one berth against two asked by him, Ramachandran said Pannerselvam and Edapppadi could not come out in the open as they promoted their own candidates—OPS for Ravindranath and Edappadi for senior leader Vaithilingam .
As a result of the feud between the two, the AIADMK lost out, he said. Both Chellappa and Ramachandran said neither party founder MGR nor his successor Jayalalitha promoted their family, a dig at Pannerselvam who lobbied for his son Ravindranath.
At another level, Law Minister C V Shanmugham blamed the AIADMK’s alliance with the BJP for the rejection by the people. He said the AIADMK failed to counter the propaganda by the opposition that the Modi Government had betrayed the interests of Tamil Nadu. As a result, the AIADMK lost the support of minorities, he reasoned.
To contain the dissenting voices, the two top leaders issued a joint statement, warning no one should speak out of turn and party men were welcome to voice their views at the meeting of district secretaries and MLAs. They said a rift in the party would only help the opposition.
In the meantime, Leader of the Opposition and DMK president M K Stalin on Saturday called for an immediate convening of the Tamil Nadu Assembly to discuss burning issues like widespread water scarcity in the State. He said if the Chief Minister did not call the Assembly, the Governor should summon it.