AIADMK Interim General Secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami is scheduled to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday, and the party hopes to clear any doubts over the leadership issue.
The meeting came ahead of BJP national president JP Nadda’s visit to Tamil Nadu on September 22 and 23 and the much-anticipated meeting between Palaniswami and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during Modi’s last visit to Chennai did not take place.
A senior AIADMK leader familiar with the plans for the Delhi meeting said: “It will clear things up,” said a senior AIADMK leader familiar with the plans for the Delhi meeting, referring to legal quandaries still lingering in the AIADMK over the tussle between Palaniswami and ousted leader O Panneerselvam for the party’s leadership.
According to the leader, the EPS will update Shah on what is happening in the party and how the majority members and leaders support a single leadership system during the July 11 general council meeting that appointed Palaniswami as interim general secretary.
This position made Palaniswami the most important leader in AIADMK. Late J Jayalalitha was the last general secretary of the party. Barring less than half a dozen people led by Panneerselvam, almost everyone in the AIADMK is now lining up behind Palaniswami.
Palaniswami is also likely to bring other leaders like TTV Dhinakaran and VK Sasikala on screen. The AIADMK leader said that he will tell Shah that there is no scope for talks with them.
AIADMK sources admitted that the meeting with Modi was long awaited. “We tried to meet him at Raj Bhavan during his last visit to Chennai. But no time was allotted, only a courtesy meeting at the airport. The BJP then told us that we will meet in Delhi soon,” the leader said.
It is now understood that while the BJP and RSS leadership initially supported Panneerselvam as Jayalalithaa’s successor, he has distanced himself from Palaniswami. While Panneerselvam tried to garner some support by warming to Sasikala and nephew Dhinakaran, she has been kept at a distance since her release from jail on corruption charges.
Panneerselvam’s main supporters include RSS ideologue S Gurumurthy, who is often credited with guiding him to rebel against Sasikala after Jayalalithaa’s death. The current BJP state president K. Annamalai, however, is taking a swipe at Palaniswami as his popularity increases. Both the leaders also hail from the Kongu region of western Tamil Nadu.