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Not By Choice But Compulsion AIADMK Will Stay Intact And Not Split

AIADMK, the principal opposition party in Tamil Nadu, is in turmoil. A tussle between the two factions headed by Joint coordinators Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) and O Panneerselvam (OPS) has led even to skirmishes and a former minister’s car being thumped as he left HQ. Together, EPS and OPS mean something in Tamil Nadu politics but if they go their separate ways, the former ruling party, founded by MGR and nurtured by J Jayalalithaa, will lose ground rapidly. Prime Minister had played the peacemaker on his last visit to Chennai, telling both party honchos to stay united and play a constructive role as opposition party. What is causing stress now is the playbook of EPS supporters eyeing to bring back the old days of a unitary leader and to hold an election for a revived general secretary post. But, OPS, fearful that he may stand no chance in a party poll, would like to avoid a head-to-head contest. A compromise may be OPS’ best route out but he would end up losing whatever hold he has on the party. A hidden hand in this is, of course, that of the Jaya confidante VK Sasikala whose political ambitions run sky-high. Truth to tell, EPS is the party’s best-known face but he can assert himself only at the cost of the party splitting. June 23, when the party council meets, should be fraught with interest.