Tamil Nadu

Will not be cowed down by threats, says Panneerselvam

AIADMK workers welcoming O. Panneerselvam at Andipatti in Theni district on June 26, 2022. Photo: Special Arrangement

AIADMK workers welcoming O. Panneerselvam at Andipatti in Theni district on June 26, 2022. Photo: Special Arrangement

Days after facing a hostile environment and literally being sidelined at the AIADMK general council meeting last Thursday, party leader O. Panneerselvam said on Sunday that he would not be cowed down by threats. He undertook a road show from Madurai to his home town Theni in a “show of strength”.

Mr. Panneerselvam, who strongly opposes former Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami’s bid to undo the AIADMK’s dual leadership structure and take over as its supreme leader, had left for New Delhi on Thursday night to accompany NDA presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu during the filing of her nomination. He returned to Madurai by a scheduled flight from Chennai on Sunday afternoon.

Stating that the people and AIADMK workers would soon come to know the truth [about the developments in the party], he told journalists, “Some forces are bent on tarnishing the party’s image. I will not be cowed by such threats. The day is not far off and the true colours of mischief-mongers would come out in the open.”

Asked to elaborate, he merely said, “In 2002, when Puratchi Thalaivi Amma [Jayalalithaa] returned as the Chief Minister, she had told media persons that ‘the AIADMK will live for more than 100 years as long as people like Panneerselvam remain in the party’ [he had vacated the Chief Minister’s chair after she won in a by-election]. This is enough for my lifetime.”

Refusing politely to field questions, he said, “You will soon hear good news and the confusion in the air will vanish.”

In a bid to counter the perception that he stood isolated while the majority of the party workers supported Mr. Palaniswami, he undertook a road show from Madurai to Theni.

Sections of the AIADMK cadre, including women, accorded the ‘son of the soil’ a rousing reception en route. As his convoy entered the district border, jubilant workers burst crackers. At many points, the vehicles could not move as functionaries vied with one another to present him with shawls and garlands.

In Theni town, addressing a huge crowd from his vehicle, he said, “The party will be intact with your support. Some cracks have developed now. It will be set right soon.

Former Madurai MP R. Gopalakrishnan, one of his supporters, was of the view that the workers were impressed with Mr. Panneerselvam’s “leadership qualities and sacrifices for the party”. He hoped Mr. Panneerselvam would end the crisis in the party created by “vested interests”.

Meanwhile, posters surfaced in many parts of Ramanathapuram district praising Mr. Panneerselvam as the leader of the AIADMK. A section of the party claimed the posters were put up at the behest of Rajya Sabha member-elect Dharmar.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2022 11:11:04 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/will-not-be-cowed-down-by-threats-says-panneerselvam/article65567936.ece