The committee is likely to help the decisions of the party and selection of candidates for the Tamil Nadu Assembly election 2021.

Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam during a press meet
news Politics Thursday, October 08, 2020 - 14:36

After a long wait, the AIADMK has formed a steering committee to placate Deputy Chief Minister and party convener O Panneerselvam on Wednesday. The steering committee holds an important place in the party and will help the decision making of the party, said the members of the steering committee. However, the roles of the committee will be informed to the public and the party members shortly.

The roles of the committee will decide the exact scenario of whether the calm in AIADMK remains permanent or will be temporary, say political commentators.

The party announced 11 AIADMK leaders as members of steering committee including Ministers Dindigul Sreenivasan, Thangamani, SP Velumani, Jayakumar, CV Shanumugan, Kamaraj along with former MLA JCD Prabhakar, former MP Manoj Pandian,  P Mohan, Gopalakrishnan and MLA Manickam.

Talking to TNM, MLA and member of steering committee Manickam said, “The steering committee will play an important role in defining the decision of the party during the elections. The steering committee will be helpful for the party’s election process. We have decided on the roles of the steering committee and the announcement on the functions of the committee will be made shortly,”

There has been speculation that MLA Manickam belongs to Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam’s camp and he is not a prominent face of the party. Countering this, Manickam said, “AIADMK is a party for the common man. I am an example that a normal member of the party can reach any heights.”

There is reportedly information that the steering committee will decide on the contestant for the next elections among many other roles. However, the formal announcement will be made only after a while.

 Reiterating the same, steering committee member Manoj Pandian said, “The committee has been formed only now and there will be a discussion on the roles of the committee and an announcement will be made by the party.”

Formation of steering committee and current politics around it

On Wednesday, three major events defined the day on which AIADMK announced the party’s Chief Minister candidate for TN assembly elections 2021. The three events were Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami will continue as the Chief Ministerial face of the party and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam will be AIADMK’s convener. The AIADMK also formed the steering committee and announced the names of 11 members.

However, the steering committee favours the Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami since six of the 11 members are reportedly from Edappadi Palaniswami’s (EPS) camp. Also, there are less prominent faces from the O Panneerselvam’s faction, opine political observers.

Senior journalist Priyan said, “The steering committee is not present in the bylaws of AIADMK. When Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam merged with the party in August 2017, AIADMK said that they will form a steering committee and make him as the head of committee. However, O Panneerselvam did not insist on the formation in the past four years.”

The Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam was reportedly eyeing for the candidature as Chief Ministerial for Tamil Nadu Assembly 2021. “When EPS supporters started to promote EPS as the Chief Minster face, O Panneerselvam started to insist on the formation. Yet we do not function on the committee.  The steering committee should have tall party leaders to guide the party. However we do not have any senior leaders like Minister Sengottaiyan or former MLA Panruti Ramachandran. There are no women or Muslims in the team,” he observed.  

Priyan also put forth that most of the people of the steering committee are the supporters of the Chief Minister. “EPS has more members than OPS. All the Ministers are mainly from the EPS side and many Ministers of the OPS side are not familiar. Why did OPS fight for this long?  EPS is only growing in terms of party and governance while OPS is losing the influence,” he claimed.

The members of the steering committee, however, vary from the view. Manickam said, “The AIADMK convener O Panneerselvam has given away the Chief Ministerial post to Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami with a feeling of brotherhood. He gave up the post whole-heartedly for the welfare of the party and there are no intentions.”

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