The ruling AIADMK led by coordinator O Pannerselvam and joint coordinator Edappadi K Palanisami on Thursday led a silent march to the memorial of former Chief Minister and party general secretary J Jayalalitha in Chennai and paid homage on her third death anniversary.
Clad in black shirts, the two leaders led hundreds of party men and offered flowers at the memorial on the Marina. They vowed to take the party greater heights.
Administering the pledge, Pannerselvam said the best tribute to Jayalalitha would be to score a resounding victory in the upcoming local body elections.
Similar silent marches were held across Tamil Nadu by AIADMK men.
Leader of the breakaway Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhgam T T V Dinakaran later visited the memorial and paid homage to Jayalalitha.
Jayalalitha died on the intervening night of Dec 4 and 5 in Apollo Hospitals on 2016 after battling illness for 75 days.
It led to a split in the party with her aide V K Sasikala making an abortive attempt to grab power by making herself general secretary. However, her conviction in a corruption along with Jayalalitha by the Supreme Court led to her imprisonment.
Before going to jail in Bengaluru, she forced O Pannerselvam out of office and installed Edappadi Palaniswami as Chief Minister with the support of 123 MLAs. Pannerselvam then formed a separate party. Simultaneously, she made Dinakaran deputy general secretary with the plan that he should take over from Edappadi.
However, on the advice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the rival factions came together in September 2017 to meet the machinations of the Sasikala clan and the Election Commission recognised the merged entity as the AIADMK.
Under a power sharing arrangement worked out then, Pannerselvam was made Deputy to Chief Minister Edappadi. As a quid pro quo, he was made coordinator of the party or No 1 while EPS was made joint coordinator.
They have sailed together since while Dinakaran’s AMMK has gone downhill with most of his lieutenants leaving to join the DMK or the AIADMK.
It is the Jayalalitha legacy which is keeping this government going. To keep her memory alive, party men took out silent marches all over the State and garlanded Jayalalitha’s portraits.