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04 Mar 2024, Edition - 3156, Monday

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With no TV channel, EPS and OPS bank on Facebook, Twitter, Periscope

AR Meyyammai



In the absence of a television channel of its own, AIADMK (Amma Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) is banking on social media to reach out to the masses.

Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam are bent upon taking their functions and events to the people by going live on social media. Wednesday’s event – the centenary celebrations of MGR at Vandalur in Kancheepuram district, was a classic example which came as a surprise even to the IT wing run by the sidelined AIADMK general secretary TTV Dhinakaran.

Both EPS and OPS speeches at the function were streamed live in Periscope, a live video streaming app which is widely used by the DMK to stream its working president M K Stalin’s events. The live streaming done in Periscope was also linked to the Twitter accounts of both the leaders. While there was no live for CM’s speech in Facebook, deputy CM’s speech was shown live through his official FB account.

While OPS is on social media for many months now, EPS is a late entrant. An official account was opened in his name only in March this year.

The AIADMK’s IT wing was formed by former Chief Minister late Jayalalithaa. But after her death when the party split into Sasikala and OPS camps, its secretary ‘Singai’ Ramachandran (son of late Singanallur MLA Govindaraj), according to sources, sided with OPS. As Ramachandran left, the mantle was handed over to Raj Sathyan, the son of former Madurai Mayor V V Rajan Chellappa by general secretary V K Sasikala. From joint secretary, he was elevated to secretary. It was only four days ago, Sathyan declared his leanings to TTV Dhinakaran camp, though his father is with AIADMK (Amma PTA).

Sources say it was because his role in the IT wing became questionable post merger and hence he made his loyalty to TTV public. The original AIADMK’s IT wing is 700-member strong team, majority of them youngsters. With Sathyan, many of them have sided with TTV, sources say.

Yet, there is a strong IT team, though small relatively, for AIADMK (Amma PTA). “An engineer from the PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore, and an MBA graduate from IIM-Ahmedabad, ‘Singai’ Ramachandran is trying to fill the gap. And this is evident from they going live on Periscope today,” an insider says.

It may be noted that the EPS-OPS faction in their recent meeting resolved to acquire Jaya TV and Namadhu MGR, the party’s mouth organ to which Jaya TV’s Managing Director Vivek Jayaraman, son of J Ilavarasi who is a co-convict in the disproportionate assets case, has said it is not possible as Sasikala holds 81 per cent shares in the “private entities.”

“With no TV channel to telecast the party’s events, both the leaders are trying to leverage through social media to grow the party,”an OPS loyalist says.But a technocrat, who is no more associated with any faction of AIADMK, tells, “As far as politics is concerned, social media is completely an urban phenomenon. It is not possible to reach out to the rural masses, who form the major electorate, through the social media because of language and technological barriers.”

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