Tamil Nadu

AIADMK unwilling to change status quo, say functionaries

Behind Chief Minister and AIADMK co-coordinator Edappadi K. Palaniswami’s categorical dismissal of the possibility of re-admitting the former interim general secretary, V.K. Sasikala, into the ruling party lies an unwillingness to disturb the current scheme of things in the party and the government. This is the broad view among a cross-section of the party’s functionaries.

Currently, Mr. Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister and party coordinator O. Panneerselvam are, amid several constraints, steering the affairs of the party smoothly, despite a widespread perception that the former’s point of view prevails over that of the latter, office-bearers say, expressing the hope that the two leaders will thrash out even the tricky issue of ticket distribution between their nominees for the Assembly election, as they did during the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

Under such circumstances, there is no need for the party leadership to make any change in the way it is running the organisation and the government, some functionaries explain.

Losing votes

Proponents of the idea of the AIADMK working with Sasikala or her nephew and AMMK founder T.T.V. Dhinakaran are of the view that the party would stand to lose at least 3% of the votes polled, in the absence of any arrangement for collaboration.

Referring to the AMMK’s performance in the Assembly byelections in April-May 2019, they point out that the party secured a 9.3% vote share in 9 Assembly constituencies in the southern districts, though its average vote share was 7.2% in the 22 seats that went to the bypolls then.

As for the Lok Sabha election, the breakaway group, despite forfeiting its deposit in all the constituencies where it had contested, did, however, net a vote share of 10% or more in the Theni, Virudhunagar, Ramanathapuram and Sivaganga seats, besides around 9.6% in Thanjavur and Tiruchi. The total vote share obtained by the party was 5.25%.

However, the other school of thought is that given the AMMK’s limited following and the adverse perception about Sasikala in certain quarters, the gains to be made by the AIADMK in pockets of southern and central districts would be “much less” than the losses the ruling party may have to suffer elsewhere. Instead of providing value addition, the Sasikala factor is likely to be a liability to the party.

Gains in the south

Besides, the government’s efforts to get seven constituents of the Scheduled Castes declared as Devendrakula Vellalar may yield electoral gains in the south, where there is a concentration of the seven constituents.

Once the Centre makes an announcement about providing a generic name to the seven castes, the support the party would get out of the move would offset any losses in the south.

G. Palanithurai, former chair of Panchayat Raj Studies, Department of Political Science and Development Administration, Gandhigram Rural Institute, says the Chief Minister, possibly motivated by reports of a “lack of anti-incumbency factor” at work, has taken a “calculated risk” in not accommodating Sasikala, as he is keen on positioning himself as a force to reckon with in State politics after the election, regardless of its outcome.

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 2:49:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/aiadmk-unwilling-to-change-status-quo-say-functionaries/article33670750.ece

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