Panneerselvam has watered down opposition to DMK, says K.P. Munusamy 

O. Panneerselvam’s leadership would be untenable for the AIADMK if it intended to overtake the DMK in the 2026 polls, said senior party leader and MLA K.P. Munusamy here on Thursday.

Mr. Munusamy was speaking to the media on the heels of Mr. Panneerselvam’s letter to the party co-coordinator Edappadi K. Palaniswami on the affixing of signatures on the party’s local body poll forms for the party’s aspirants.

“Mr. Panneerselvam has lost his moral right to write to Mr. Edappadi Palaniswami on the local body election forms after he moved the court and appealed to the police to stop the party’s general council from convening,” Mr. Munusamy said.

According to him, the indoor meeting of the AIADMK clearly supported a unitary leadership, with 70 out of 75 district secretaries and 63 of 66 MLAs wanting a unitary leadership. But Mr. Panneerselvam had approached the court and the police with a ‘malicious intent’. The party’s by-laws would strip the person from primary membership for such transgression of moving the court against the party, he said.

Citing instances of Mr. Panneerselvam’s camaraderie with the DMK, namely his sitting for high tea with the Chief Minister or his son meeting the Chief Minister and lauding the government, or Mr. Paneerselvam celebrating the DMK patriarch Karunanidhi in the Assembly, Mr. Munusamy said such camaraderie was antithetical to the AIADMK under Jayalalithaa.

“Mr. Panneerselvam has watered down his position vis-à-vis the DMK and with such a position, it would be difficult to take on the DMK in 2026. It is therefore imperative that the party move to a unitary leadership under Edappadi Palaniswami in order to defeat the DMK,” he said.

Many parties can claim to have become a “third force” in Tamil Nadu, but that will never happen. Tamil Nadu will either have the DMK or the AIADMK in power. We are “co-parceners” with historically staunch rivalry against each other. It is not right to water down that rivalry. Mr. Panneerselvam has already watered it down and, hence, we cannot accept his leadership,” Mr. Munusamy said.

According to him, the need for a unitary leadership was acutely felt, especially when the party faced the DMK with a unitary leadership under M.K. Stalin. There has been a lot of confusion recently in the party with decision making as the delay in finalising of Rajya Sabha members showed, Mr. Munusamy said. “We were subjected to media criticism as well.”

In the wake of Jayalalithaa's passing, Mr. Munusamy was the first person to raise the banner of revolt in 2017 against V.K. Sasikala and her family. He aligned with the then sidelined Mr. Paneerselvam, who was compelled to resign as the Chief Minister to make way for Mr. Palaniswami.

Asked about the shifting of alliances between 2016 and now, when he helped Mr. Paneerselvam launch his challenge to Ms. Sasikala and family, Mr. Munusamy said there was no shifting of alliances, but only the welfare of the party.

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2022 10:00:25 am |