The succession strife in the prime Opposition party had a deleterious impact on the state’s politics
The symbolic donning of the white fur cap along with dark glasses for a fleeting moment will not make Edappadi K. Palaniswami, the newest general secretary of the AIADMK, another MGR. But the moment was an augury for Tamil Nadu’s political future as it heralded some stability to the party founded by MGR half a century ago since it had seemingly zeroed in on a unitary leader after some hustle and bustle.
Though the party has gone through tumultuous moments after MGR passed into history in 1987 with the mantle of leadership not falling lightly like a rose petal on the lap of his immediate successor, J. Jayalalithaa, the latest war for supremacy threatened to wreck the party by throwing it asunder like a rudderless ship. For, the tug-of-war between V.K. Sasikala, O. Panneerselvam and Mr Palaniswami was more acrimonious than the battles that Jayalalithaa fought.
The succession strife in the prime Opposition party had a deleterious impact on the state’s politics, threatening to influence the outcome of the fast approaching Lok Sabha elections. But with the courts almost handing over the mantle to Mr Palaniswami and most of the party honchos rallying around him, it seems that the AIADMK will be able to freely discharge its democratic functions.
One, it will be able to take on the ruling party in multiple terrains of combat to point out its faults in governance, and two, it will be able to take a final call on whom to align with in 2024. For, one of the prime responsibilities of any Opposition party would be to galvanise the disparate voices of naysayers and channelise them into an electoral force.
So, Mr Palaniswami officially getting into the shoes of MGR, or even Jayalalithaa, will enable the party to turn a new leaf by regaining and consolidating its original support base, besides not allowing the looming incertitude fritter away the popularity of the iconic “two Leaves” symbol.