Putting to rest rumours of being ousted from the party, O Panneerselvam was announced as the Bodinayakanur candidate for AIADMK for the 2016 Assembly elections.
This comes after rife speculation that the Chief Minister would shut the doors on her loyal aide and the former Chief Minister, who stepped in to be the CM after a Bengaluru court convicted TN Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in the disproportionate assets case. The cracks first appeared when OPS was excluded from seat sharing talks and crucial electoral committee meetings. He was not in the list of leaders named in the committee deputed for seat-sharing talks.
The removal of OPS and the two others came a week after the hashtag ā#OPS4CMā had trended on Twitter. AIADMK supporters attributed it to the rival DMKās IT wing, allegedly to create a rift between OPS and Jayalalithaa. OPS was apparently targeted because of the growing clout of three members of his family ā his son Ravindranath Kumar, brother O Raja who is also the Periyakulam municipal chairman, and son-in-law Kasi Rajan.
Sources in the party traced the rift back to September 2014, while others say it is a more recent phenomenon. During the elections to party posts last year, OPS was said to have entrenched himself with the local leaders in many of these districts. He already had considerable clout in some other places. Talk within the party indicated that there were decisions and ādealsā that Jayalalithaa was not happy about.
OPSās attempts of putting together his own small coterie seemed to have rung alarm bells in Poes Garden. But just as Sasikala was welcomed back to the house after her ouster in 2011, it looks like OPS could have been forgiven too.