Caste divides choice of AIADMK’s Rajya Sabha nominee in south TN

A division on caste lines is holding up the AIADMK’s process to select a nominee for the Rajya Sabha from south Tamil Nadu, according to a section of party leaders.

The party sources said of the two seats that the AIADMK could win in the June biennial polls given its strength in the Assembly, an understanding had been reached between its coordinator O Panneerselvam and co-coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswami to nominate their preferred candidates for one seat each.

However, talks held in Chennai over the last two days on the choice of nominee (from south TN) were “inconclusive” as the four-member committee including the two top leaders were unable to arrive at a consensus.

Sources said there is intense competition among members of different communities in the south to grab the seat.

While Mukkulathors, the dominant community in the AIADMK are keen to have their nominee, there is also competition from members of the Sourashtra, Yadava, Vellalars and Scheduled Castes communities in the region.

According to a senior party functionary in the southern region, some of the names being discussed included R. Gopalakrishnan (former MP from Madurai), former minister Thalavai N. Sundaram, VVR Raj Satyan (son of former Mayor and Thiruparankundram MLA Rajan Chellappa), and S. S. Saravanan (former MLA from Madurai South).

A party functionary close to Mr. Panneerselvam in Theni district claimed the AIADMK coordinator was pained over the developments. “Seeking a ticket on caste lines by some leaders is not good for the party.. Our late leader Amma (Jayalalithaa) had always chosen a candidate from the grassroots. She identified those loyal to the party and not on community lines,” he contended.

Writer and observer B. Thirumalai was of the view that in the Dravidian parties, only loyalty to the leader and the party had mattered even during the days of DMK patriarch M. Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa.

A former minister from the region said the “dual leadership” of the AIADMK will always come under test during such situations. “It will get sorted out soon. It is normal and natural for anybody to ask for a ticket. It is for the high command to take the final call,” he said not wanting to speculate on candidate selection.

However, a section of Mr Panneerselvam’s loyalists said they hoped he would not succumb to the pressure from Mukkulathors and instead reward those loyal to the organisation.

Filing of nominations is set to begin on June 1 and June 3 is the last date for withdrawal.

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Printable version | May 22, 2022 9:07:41 pm |