OPS asserts himself in AIADMK; ‘one man, one post’ formula in force

Chennai: “Varanum, pazhaya Panneerselvama varanum”. This popular dialogue from Vijayakanth-starrer Sathriyan is apparently becoming a reality in the ruling AIADMK, with the party’s coordinator and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam starting to assert himself.

Ever since the merger of the factions led by OPS and Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, there was a grouse in OPS’ camp that none of his supporters, including senior leaders, was given key positions in the party. In the functioning of the government, too, EPS and few a ministers close to him were said to be having the upper hand.

But, some recent changes in the AIADMK indicate that Panneerselvam, who launched ‘Dharma Yuddham’ against Sasikala’s leadership post the death of Jayalalithaa, is getting back on track.

Days after OPS reportedly spoke at an internal meet that “only a few people are enjoying posts in the party. I am both the coordinator and treasurer of the AIADMK. I am thinking about stepping down from one of them”, the party came out with a statement Monday, effecting reshuffles in key posts.

Ministers C Ve Shanmugam and Sevvoor S Ramachandran were relieved from the post of organising secretaries of the party. Instead, Shanmugam was appointed as Villupuram north district secretary. Former minister K Ponnusamy, from being joint secretary of MGR Mandram, was made the deputy propaganda secretary. R Lakhsmanan, who was hitherto the secretary of the Villupuram north district unit, was appointed as one of the organising secretaries.

Also, OPS and EPS announced that the party’s Krishnagiri district unit has been bifurcated as Krishnagiri East and Krishnagiri West. K Ashok Kumar, MP, will be the secretary of Krishnagiri East, while Youth Welfare Minister P Balakrishna Reddy will helm Krishnagiri West.

Similarly, Tiruvannamalai has been bifurcated into Tiruvannamalai South and Tiruvannamalai North. HR and CE Minister Ramachandran has been made the secretary for south and MLA Thoosi K Mohan has been appointed the head for north.

Also, a committee comprising key functionaries to look after the petitions received from the party members has been formed and former ministers K P Munusamy, Natham Viswanathan and Vaithialingam and ministers Thangamani and Velumani have been named as its members.

And, Panneerselvam’s brother O Raja, who was sacked from the party, has been re-inducted within a few days, after he ‘expressed regret for his act’.

“Though OPS is head of the party as per the merger deal, he kept a low profile all these days. But, with elections approaching, he is conveying a message or two with his words and acts,” said a source.

M Bhaskar Sai