Sasikala Drama Ends, AIADMK Factions Unite; Now Govern TN

The two factions of the AIADMK merged today by side-lining drama queen Sasikala. But in six months, Tamil Nadu has suffered.

OPS-EPS
TamilNadu Chief Minister E. Palaniswami and his Deputy O. Paneerselvam after his swearing in ceremony on Monday

Ending over six months of bitter feud over one lady – V K Sasikala – the two factions of the AIADMK merged today with E Palaniswami remaining as the Chief Minister and his once bitter rival and three-time stand-in Chief Minister O Panneerselvam taking over as his deputy.

In a reversal of roles in the party, OPS will be the AIADMK coordinator while EPS will be the co-coordinator.

Following the arrangement, EPS went in for a cabinet reshuffle. Though what happens to Sasikala has not been mentioned in black and white, party sources said she has been completely isolated; so is her nephew Dhinakaran.

Sasikala

The hint came from Dhinakaran loyalist C R Saraswathi who wanted to know what wrong did Sasikala do to be “eased out.”

But senior party leader and Rajya Sabha MP R Vaithilingam was more blunt. He said steps will be taken to remove Sasikala as general secretary by convening the general council meeting.

In the midst of all this feud, it is Tamil Nadu that has suffered. Chennai is in the grip of a major water crisis and there are other issues plaguing the state. Now, the new dispensation in Chennai should seriously get to the task of governing the State.

Having two stalwarts sharing power may also lead to friction. And, more importantly, the mood of the grassroot workers is still not known.

Also of interest would be the outcome of the enquiry into the death of Jayalalithaa. The government is likely to use this as a means to pin Sasikala down. With her remaining in jail, chances of her trying to wield power through Dhinakaran has dimmed.

OPS

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday congratulated AIADMK leader O. Panneerselvam after he was made deputy chief minister of Tamil Nadu. “I congratulate Thiru O Panneerselvam & others who took oath today. I hope Tamil Nadu scales newer heights of progress in the years to come,” Modi said in a tweet.

“Centre assures all possible support to CM Thiru Edappadi K. Palaniswami & Dy CM Thiru O Panneerselvam for the growth of TN”, he added.

OPS was given finance ministry, a portfolio he had held since 2011 when the J Jayalalithaa government was sworn-in. Besides finance portfolio, Panneerselvam will also be heading housing, rural housing, and housing development, Slum Clearance Board and Accommodation Control, Town Planning, urban development and Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority.

Raj Shankar

Shankar Raj is a senior journalist with more than 30 years experience, mostly with The Indian Express and The New Indian Express. He was the Editor for Karnataka and Kerala editions of The New Indian Express, and former Managing Editor of the Nyusu Digital Media P Ltd. Bengaluru.

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