December 11, 2016
A headless hydra? Is this how the AIADMK can be described now? The answer might easily be “more or less”. With the sudden and shocking death of Amma, a larger than life persona, the party that she had led like an uncrowned queen is already rudderless, probably set to drift away and sink in stormy political waters.
“Right now it may appear that Chief Minister O Panneerselvam is the safest bet to put the house in order, but it will be months or even years before a leader of legitimacy, as intelligent and charismatic as MGR or Jayalalitha can emerge to hold sway over the masses,” said a number of AIADMK cadres that Covai Post spoke to.
“Before long, the party hierarchy will become faction-ridden with local satraps, demanding their pound of flesh. Regional and caste identities will also come to the fore in the absence of the unifying force like Amma. In the event of a vertical split, the faction that gets the two leaves symbol will get the legitimacy, and the votes,” said a senior AIADMK leader, who did not wish to be identified.
According to political pundits, the AIADMK is already a divided house, but as they have a mandate to govern the State, the show might last as long as the power lasts. And there will be no visible rebellion within the party as long as the government lasts, for the ambitious ones in the party will wait for the right occasion to strike. On the flip side is the anti-defection law as a deterrent preventing any horse trading and toppling of the government.
“In a worst case scenario, a leading ruling faction might walk away with 39 legislators, and the faction may go to lend support from outside to the government,” said political pundits.
But some party insiders insisted that collective leadership will be the order of the day, as Chief Minister Panneerselvam is a consensus candidate and seasoned in steering the party in the absence of Amma in the past.
“The machinations of the ‘Mannargudi mafia’ to take control the party affairs will eventually fail, as the common man will not accept the leadership of a back stage operator like Sasikala. Her dream of becoming heir-apparent to Jayalalitha’s legacy could easily be aborted by a young Turk, with the support of the masses,” they opined.
“Leaders from Kongu vellalars and Mukkulathors community, as long time supporters of the party, might want to seize the opportunity and emerge as the legitimate upholders of Amma’s legacy,” said a seasoned AIADMK worker.