Former ADMK Minister and MP is expelled from the party...Is he going to join DMK?

The ADMK leadership has on Tuesday issued a crucial statement, hours ahead of the party's executive committee meeting. In the statement signed by top leaders Edappadi Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam, the party has announced that it has expelled former minister and MP Anwhar Raajhaa from the primary membership of the party. Anwhar Raajhaa was one of the veteran ADMK leaders active in politics since the MGR era was removed for dissenting against the current leadership.

The announcement that came in the night hours of Tuesday had shocked the party veterans and stirred a fresh round of crisis as it has come hours ahead of the party's executive committee meeting. Our sources say that Anwhar Raajhaa had expressed his dissent against the party's leadership in the recently-held district secretaries' meet, which also had witnessed heated arguments between the senior leaders. The event has displayed the ongoing leadership crisis and the top leaders have only fueled it by their decision of completely removing Anwhar Raajhaa from the party.

Raajhaa had recently accused the ADMK leadership of lacking transparency and slipping off from the path cemented by the party's stalwarts MG Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa. He said that the party is lacking strong leadership and it was reflected in the recent rural local body elections in Tamil Nadu. Raajhaa was supporting Edappadi Palaniswami's faction after the merger of the ADMK and he shifted his allegiance to VK Sasikala, where in October this year, he advocated that Sasikala should be taken back into ADMK. 

Anwhar Raajhaa has been a face of ADMK's minority wing and this 72-year-old leader was close to the party's founder MG Ramachandran. He was elected to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly from the Ramanathapuram constituency in 2001 and the then Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had appointed Raajhaa as the Tamil Nadu Minister of Labour and Employment.

Raajhaa was then elected to the Lok Sabha in the 2014 General Elections as an ADMK MP from Ramanathapuram. During his tenure in Delhi, he also built a stronghold among the minority groups and as a Parliamentarian, he had served in various committees such as House Committee, External Affairs, and Home Ministry. He also had served as a Member of the Tamil Nadu Wakf Board. He was denied a ticket by the current leadership in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as the Ramanathapuram constituency was allotted to the allied BJP, which ended up losing it to the DMK alliance. 

Raajhaa had been a strong critic of BJP and he had strongly opposed the Muthalaq bill passed by the saffron party. After the demise of Jayalalithaa, Raajhaa had supported VK Sasikala. However, after months, he gave his support to Edappadi Palaniswami and now, he has voiced for Sasikala in her comeback. He was also outraged against the ADMK-BJP alliance in the 2021 assembly polls and he sharply urged the need for single leadership in the party, amid the leadership crisis. 

Recently, his audio clip of degrading Edappadi Palaniswami was released and stirred controversy and in the district secretaries meet, that was held last week, Raajhaa had faced criticism from the senior leaders for dissenting against the current leadership. The meeting had seen mixed reactions from several leaders, particularly KA Sengottaiyan pitching over a major overhaul in the party by widening the steering committee. As the party is going to host the executive committee meeting on Wednesday - December 1, the leadership has expelled Raajhaa on Tuesday. Raajhaa was also serving as the Chief of ADMK's Minority Wing. 

In the statement that was shared by ADMK on social media at 10.47 pm on Tuesday, both the top leaders have said, "Anwhar Raajhaa has been expelled from the primary membership and from all roles of the party for acting against the principles and bringing disrepute to the party, for making statements against the party's decision, and for acting in a manner of causing a harm for the party's name and reputation." "We are asking the party functionaries not to exercise any contact with him", the statement signed by Edappadi Palaniswami and Panneerselvam added. 

In the Executive Committee meeting, the ADMK will be taking important decisions including appointing a new Chairman for the party's presidium as the then incumbent Madhusudanan was passed away in August 2021. According to reports, the meeting will be discussing the upcoming urban local body polls and alliances. The discussion of whether to increase the steering committee members from 11 to 18 will also be on the agenda. These discussions would be the sequel of what had happened during the district secretaries meeting. 

However, the ADMK will keep the leadership crisis at the stake as the tussle between both the top leaders has been played behind the screens. The reports say that Anwhar Raajhaa has been with the ADMK since the establishment of the party in 1972  and he has been dissenting against the current leadership for its alliance with the BJP and the leadership tussle. In the recently held district secretaries meet, Raajhaa had got up to say his opinion.

But, he was harshly criticized by former ADMK Minister CV Shanmugam for speaking against Edappadi Palaniswami. This has humiliated Raajhaa post which he expressed his outrage against the leadership. As the Executive Committee meeting has been scheduled on December 1, the leadership had decided to remove him from the party with the view that Raajhaa would again speak against them during the meeting. 

Is Raajhaa going to join DMK?

While his expulsion had shocked his supporters, a section of people in the ADMK have been commenting that Raajhaa will be joining DMK and he has been speaking against the ADMK leadership to strengthen his entry to the DMK. He had been waiting for the expulsion and soon, he will switch his allegiance and officially join the DMK. On the other hand, Raajhaa's supporters have said he has been criticising the party as the leadership is not on the right path. By expressing their shock over the expulsion, they said that Raajhaa will announce his next course of action after meeting his aides and associates.