The former interim general secretary of the AIADMK, V.K. Sasikala, who was expelled from the party, has been knocking on all doors for a comeback to the party fold.
However, the stiff resistance from the faction led by former Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami seems to be a major obstacle to her entry into the party.
She has, according to sources close to her, met senior functionaries of the “powerful” Thevar community to which she belongs.
As per the sources, the meeting was held at her T Nagar residence and the community elders have promised to pull the strings for her re-entry into the party.
It may be noted that the Thevar community of Tamil Nadu is strong in southern parts of the state and has been voting for the AIADMK. However, in the 2021 Assembly elections, the party lost miserably in its strongholds, and political pundits have opined that the Thevar community had played soft-peddle which had affected the party’s prospects in south Tamil Nadu.
The poster boy of the Thevar community in the state and former Chief Minister, O. Panneerselvam also had to face the ire of the community with the party candidate losing in his home turf Bodinaikar in Theni district during the urban local body polls.
Immediately after the Urban polls, a meeting of AIADMK district office bearers were held at the farm house of Panneerselvam and a resolution was passed for the re-entry of Sasikala. This, according to AIADMK office bearers, was at the behest of the Thevar community.
While Panneerselvam was present in the meeting, he denied having any role in passing the resolution. His brother O. Raja who was the district level office bearer and the Chairman of AIADMK controlled milk cooperative society of Theni was expelled from the party after he met Sasikala immediately after the Theni meeting.
Meanwhile, Sasikala’s plea that expulsion from the AIADMK was not valid according to the party constitution was dismissed by a Chennai court. Following this, former minister D. Jayakumar who is closely associated with Palaniswami immediately called upon Sasikala to accept the court verdict and not to dream of re-entry into the party.
However, sources in the AIADMK told IANS that strong pressure from the Thevar community cannot be overlooked by the party, and the re-entry of Sasikala into the party fold will become a reality in the days to come.
The estranged leader has the support of the powerful Kanchi Sankara Mutt and this has helped her garner support from the RSS, and BJP combine in the state.
R. Padmanabhan, Director, Socio-Economic Development Foundation, a think tank based out of Madurai, while speaking to IANS said, “AIADMK now needs a leader with a presence and Sasikala has that. Being the aide of late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, she knows all the tricks of the trade and if someone is willing to join the party why should she be kept out. I think the ground is now suited for her to stage a grand come back”.