The AIADMK, led by the frictional leadership of Edappadi K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam, on Monday warned its party cadre to take strict action against those who spoke to party’s former general secretary VK Sasikala, who has been calling the cadre and assuring them of her comeback to politics.
The AIADMK has expelled 17 functionaries, including Pugazhendhi, who has represented the party on television debates.
In a joint press statement issued on Monday, Panneerselvam, who holds a marginally higher position as far as party affairs are concerned, said that an initiated disciplinary action will be taken against those who have had phone conversations with Sasikala.
Over the last several weeks, Sasikala had been putting out audio conversations in which she has been making confident statements about her return to the pinnacle of the AIADMK.
“In this scenario, those who’ve had phone conversations with VK Sasikala and brought disrepute to the party would have to be expelled and steps must be taken to ensure such incidents do not happen again..” a release issued by the party reads.
Analysts view Sasikala as a constant niggle to the shaky leadership of the AIADMK, so rendered after the death of its icon J Jayalalithaa, who left little by way of a succession to the party she led for several tumultuous years. The post-Jayalalithaa AIADMK has been a faction-ridden machine, striking out in different directions against the well-oiled demolition ball that was the DMK.
The DMK, meanwhile, had been steadfastly focusing on its twin-pronged approach: Covid-19 pandemic relief and welfarism. On one side, the party has been releasing announcements for free bus rides for women and transgenders and free Rs 4000/ration card doles to the electorate, even as oxygen capacity expansion and vaccine procurement are happening at full swing. The party has relegated political symbolism to the realm of the social media, where the IT wing has been carrying out campaigns against the party’s political foes.
The absence of a strong leader to take on the might of the DMK and its internal challenges force the AIADMK into a corner, from where it is currently battling to keep hold of its diminishing appeal amongst the audience.