Last evening, a meme of TN Finance Minister O Panneerselvam went viral with the hashtag #OPS4CM. It showed Paneerselvam bowing down to the Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, but shooting her what was made out to be a sinister expression as she walked by.
It read, “Look at this! The tiger is crouching, only to attack.” In a matter of 10 hrs, #OPS4CM began trending nationwide at No.5, with 14.2k tweets.
The reactions to the hashtag were numerous – some declared the hashtag the creation of a troublemaker trying to end Paneerselvam’s career in the AIADMK, some declared their support for Panneerselvam, but actor and grandson of DMK Chief M Karunanidhi Udayanidhi Stalin seemed most pleased with the trending hashtag.
The GIFS and memes that followed mostly depicted his reactions ranging from rolling his eyes to looking extremely worried at the hashtags.
The next set of memes had speech bubbles on Panneerselvam’s pictures reading “Can’t they speak softer, Amma will hear them!” He was Jedi Master Yoda in one meme, a disappointed Vadivelu in another and a smug Ajith, "waiting for his turn."
While suspicion is mostly falling on anonymous trolls or individuals in the DMK, members within the AIADMK could land in big trouble if they, as some speculate, have started it.
And the field day didn’t end there. AIADMK Spokesperson CR Saraswathi was next in line with #CRS4CM, her face superimposed onto Amma’s image.
While Vikatan had been reporting on dissenters within the party over the past three days, AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa seems to have upped the pressure on senior party leaders to focus on performance and maintain the image of the party.
In the last fortnight, several AIADMK leaders have been relieved of party posts, after courting controversy with their comments and actions, especially after they were highlighted by the media or picked up by the opposition's online campaign.
AIADMK Spokesperson Saraswathi had said that they were paying little attention to these memes as this could only be the work of internet trolls, not anyone in the party. But given the AIADMK’s focus on its image before the elections, looks like nobody is allowed to have the last laugh except Amma.