Rajya Sabha picks, EPS shows who’s in charge
The AIADMK shocked its own party workers by calling unheard faces as its two nominees to the Rajya Sabha, it also conveys a clear message as on 'who is in control of the party'. Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami is not only naming the shots in the government, but also in the party.
By sending little known N Chandrasekaran, the party’s Mettur town secretary, and a former Minister A Mohammedjan to the Rajya Sabha form the state, EPS has managed to sideline AIADMK coordinator and deputy Chief Minister O Panner Selvam, when it comes to decision making within the party.
“Chandrasekaran was a known confidante of EPS and I have seen with him, whenever the letter visited Salem. Moreover, it was, EPS, when he was highways Minister in Jayalalithaa’s Cabinet in the 2011-16 regime, who pushed Chandrasekaran’s candidate for the Mettur assembly segment during 2016 assembly poll and his name too appeared in the AIADMK list,” the party worker said. The complaints from local party men, however, his name was deleted and replaced with S Semmalai, who eventually who form Mettur. “Now, by choosing Chandrasekaran for Rajya Sabha, EPS has sent out a signal as to who is in control,” he said. “We are given to understand that there were 20-25 party seniors, who were aspiring for a Rajya Sabha seat. By giving it to two people, the party leadership did not want to antagonize the rest,” a senior AIADMK leader said.
Whether Chandrasekaran is existing urged as the party’s Dalit face in the Rajya Sabha, Mohammedan's selection is marketed as a move to appease the Muslim voters, especially in the Vellore region, in the wake of the election scheduled for Vellore Parliamentary seat on August 5. A few others in the party have, however, questioned this strategy. “If you want to get back the Muslim minorities’ votes, the party has to oppose the BJP and its policies and agenda, including the triple talaq bill. You cannot align with the BJP. The party leadership seems to be acting based on instructions from the BJP,” another senior leader said.
A leader in AIADMK said, “Dalits form a sizeable vote bank of the AIADMK in northern districts. By aligning with the PMK, you have driven them away to the DMK camp. In addition, the party has allotted one RS seat to the PMK.”
“Meantime, senior Minister D Jayakumar sought to brush off charges that the AIADMK Parliamentary board meeting was not convened to select party’s Rajya Sabha nominees. “It is a wrong view. AIADMK is not made of dynastic rulers,” he said.