Another big race in ADMK...Will OPS taste the victory this time?

With incessant furores and struggles in the party, ADMK has been witnessing major erosion in its citadel than any other parties in India as Jayalalithaa's demise had birthed an unending rift within the party with the top two leaders are indulging in a tussle over becoming number one in the party, amid the side play of expelled ADMK leader VK Sasikala. 

The high-level race between Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS) and O Panneerselvam (OPS) has escalated the tensions in the party with the second-line leaders are backing their respective bighead. After major tussles between the top two leaders for winning the support and endorsements from the party functionaries for the Chief Ministerial candidacy in the recently-held assembly polls and for the Opposition Leader in the assembly after losing the elections, the party is all set for another big race.

Edappadi Palaniswami enjoys a stronghold in the party after winning a majority of support from the functionaries and legislators, pushing Panneerselvam to digest a backlash by losing his control. But this time, Panneerselvam aims to earn a breakthrough in the party by retaining the spotlight. As Palaniswami has recently been elected as the Leader of Opposition in the Tamil Nadu assembly, the party is all set to elect the deputy leader of the opposition. 

According to reports, the party has decided to hold a meeting with the elected MLAs of the current assembly on June 14 to elect deputy leader of opposition, assembly whip, and secretary of the party. The leadership has on Wednesday sought permission from the Chennai police to conduct the meeting amid COVID-19 restrictions. A formal letter has been submitted to the DGP and the city police seeking protection for the party headquarters during the meeting. 

ADMK has 66 MLAs in the current assembly and they will be electing the deputy leader of the opposition. While Panneerselvam had already rejected the offer of deputy leader of the opposition, the reports close to the developments say that Panneerselvam will be aiming to win the seat for his faction with the view of not leaving his grip in the party. Panneerselvam has rejected the offer against the backdrop of demanding to leave the party's control and leadership to him while Palaniswami enjoys the post of Leader of Opposition. 

As Panneerselvam has rejected the offer, he will most likely fight with Palaniswami to provide the posts of deputy opposition leader and party's whip to his supporters. The ADMK can also witness a race between the second line leaders including KA Sengottaiyan, KP Munusamy, and Vaithilingam to win the post of deputy opposition leader. On the other hand, ADMK's bighead SP Velumani is lobbying for the post of the party's whip in the assembly. 

The race for deputy opposition leader would be unfolded when expelled ADMK leader VK Sasikala is signalling her political comeback and to take over the party. The recent audio leaks, where Sasikala was speaking to the party cadres, had shown that a plan is set in motion for her political resurgence. While the cadres welcoming her to politics, the senior leaders of the party are echoing a stereotype that VK Sasikala won't be accepted back to the party. 

Meanwhile, the party cadres in southern Tamil Nadu had gone against Edappadi Palaniswami and directly blamed him for the party's defeat in the assembly polls. On Wednesday, posters were surfaced in the Tirunelveli district blaming Palaniswami for losing the elections. The posters, which were in support of the party's coordinator O Panneerselvam, were seen in prominent places in Maanur. 

Besides blaming Palaniswami, the posters had threatened that the ADMK members would march towards the party's headquarters at Royapettah in Chennai if decisions of the party are taken without consulting Panneerselvam, whom Palaniswami thinks as his troublemaker in the party. The poster read, "Do not take any decision without consulting party's coordinator O Panneerselvam, who was identified as the leader for the party matters by Amma (late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa)."

"We lost the elections as the party has taken decisions without consulting Panneerselvam. If this continues, we will march towards the party headquarters", the poster added and it had placed Palaniswami's face down to Panneerselvam's face. The posters from southern Tamil Nadu had troubled Palaniswami amid Panneerselvam's allegations against Palaniswami that he had taken decisions in the party to retain his stronghold in the western districts and his decisions had declined the party's growth in southern districts.