AIADMK’s new strategy is talking point among rank and file

Some sections want the party to maintain its ‘aggressive opposition’ to the DMK in the Assembly

August 31, 2021 01:32 am | Updated 03:24 am IST - CHENNAI

The observations of senior AIADMK leaders O. Panneerselvam and K.A. Sengottaiyan in the Assembly in the last one week, sounding conciliatory towards the ruling DMK, have become the talking point among the rank and file of the AIADMK.

Participating in a discussion on Chief Minister M.K. Stalin’s announcement of a memorial for M. Karunanidhi on the Marina, Mr. Panneerselvam said his father was a “great admirer” of the former Chief Minister. Mr. Sengottaiyan said his party would stand by the government on the two language formula and the repeal of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to undergraduate medical and dental courses. He also praised the Anna Centenary Library, which was constructed when Karunanidhi was the Chief Minister.

‘MGR’s line’

According to some sections of the Opposition party, the “aggressive opposition” to the DMK should remain the “staple” all the time for AIADMK members. This was the line when the party founder M.G. Ramachandran and his successor Jayalalithaa were at the helm. Any deviation is not acceptable to them. A few long-standing leaders have refused to comment.

However, R.B. Udhayakumar, secretary of the Puratchi Thalaivi Peravai and former Revenue Minister, does not see any change in the party’s basic position. “There may be a new look in the approach towards certain matters, but there is absolutely no change in the party’s policy,” he says, adding that one has to factor in that the DMK has been in power for a little over 110 days.

Party’s role

His party has always played a “constructive role” on issues of importance to the State, like the Mekedatu dam project, and supported the government.

At the same time, the party has not shown any hesitancy in protesting in the current session by staging walkouts on a host of matters, including the White Paper on the State’s finances, the move to have Jayalalithaa University at Villupuram merged with Annamalai University and the special resolution against the farm laws.

“We are also highlighting the ruling party’s shortcomings,” he says.

Explaining the remarks of Mr. Panneerselvam and Mr. Sengottaiyan, the former Minister says that while the former has recalled his father’s feelings towards Karunanidhi, the latter, even while in power, would not say anything that would offend the sentiments of others.

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