The dust settled today on the tussle within the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) with Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami officially being declared as the party’s chief ministerial candidate for the assembly elections next year. The announcement was made by none other than Deputy CM and EPS’ apparent rival to the post, O Panneersevam, who has been given a greater say in the affairs of the party.
The announcement and division of powers within the AIADMK assumes significance for the party in the context of the elections in the state, especially in view of the release of VK Sasikala, late Jayalalithaa’s former aide, from prison early next year.
Announcing the party decision today, Panneerselvam said that an 11-member steering committee of the AIADMK will look at “collective leadership”. The decision for OPS to get a greater say in the party comes after weeks of negotiations amid reports of a tussle between the two top contenders.
While OPS is learnt to have stuck to his demand for the formation of a steering committee, EPS had opposed it but relented eventually. Both candidates had put their foot down on the chief ministerial candidature, triggering concerns that the rift could be exploited to its advantage by rival DMK.
With the dust settled on the CM candidate and the party leadership, the AIADMK can hope to put out a united front in the elections scheduled for next year. Scores of party workers had gathered at the party office in Chennai on Wednesday morning in anticipation of the announcement. The AIADMK held an executive meeting with senior leaders to discuss party matters on September 28 but could not arrive at a conclusion on the chief ministerial nominee. The announcement was eventually made after intensive discussions over the past week.