EPS-OPS tighten grip on AIADMK, take tough stand on media too

Chennai: Taking a leaf out of their mentor and former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s book, AIADMK coordinator O Panneerselvam and joint coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswami, also the Deputy Chief Minister and Chief Minister, respectively, have tightened their grip on the party by issuing strict warning to cadres and senior leaders against speaking in public.

They had already asked AIADMK cadres not to speak to the media about internal party issues during the consultative meeting held 12 June. They have reiterated that the order cannot be taken lightly.

And, a press statement was released by the party yesterday stating that only official spokespersons should be approached by media houses for comments about developments in the party. Journalists have been ‘requested’ not to attract legal action by carrying stories with quotes from unauthorised persons.

AIADMK is known for its ‘military discipline’ when it was headed by Jayalalithaa. But it went for a toss after her demise and there was a tug of war between several leaders in the party. The one major noticeable aspect of Jayalalithaa’s governance was the restriction of cadres or senior party leaders from speaking in open about internal party affairs which was strictly followed. But this is not the case in the recent times as several leaders from the AIADMK have voiced their opinion on various issues, the latest being the demand for the single leadership.

To ensure that this issue is not blown up, the party has issued a gag order to the functionaries.
“When Jayalalithaa was alive, there was a ‘natural silence’ among cadres and leaders as no one dared to question the party chief. Even if someone did, immediate action would have been taken. But, things are different now. The party needs discipline,” said a member.

Party sources said only Palaniswami, Panneerselvam, deputy coordinator Vaithilingam and presidium chairman Madhoosudhanan spoke during the consultative meeting.

“None of the MLAs, MPs or district secretaries were permitted to speak. We thought there were will be discussion about the dual leadership problem and the topic will be put to rest once and for all. However, this did not happen,” says a functionary, adding: “We want the party started by MGR and nurtured by Amma should live on forever and sincerely hope the leadership would take necessary steps in this regard. Nobody should be allowed to violate rules, be it seniors or juniors.”

Balasubramani Muniyandi