CHENNAI: The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) on Wednesday announced that incumbent Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami will be the party’s chief ministerial candidate for the Tamil Nadu assembly election in 2021.
The announcement was made by Deputy Chief Minister & AIADMK leader O Panneerselvam after weeks of negotiation and speculation.
“The AIADMK has constituted a steering committee of 11 members for 2021 Assembly elections in the state,” said Chief Minister Palaniswami.
AIADMK party has constituted a steering committee of 11 members for 2021 assembly elections in the state: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister & AIADMK leader Edappadi K Palaniswami https://t.co/190CyEiW1Q pic.twitter.com/JC5Ubw7g3j
— ANI (@ANI) October 7, 2020
In 2017, when two factions of the party merged, the formation of a steering committee was one of the key demands put forth by the camp led by O Panneerselvam, who is deputy chief minister now.
A large number of party workers had gathered at the AIADMK office in Chennai this morning in anticipation of the announcement.
On October 1, Tamil Nadu Minister D Jayakumar had sought to play down reports of differences between Chief Minister E Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, saying that there are no differences between the two.
On reports that Panneerselvam earlier skipped the meeting called by the Chief Minister and met party members, he said, “He is our party organisation coordinator, so what is the problem if he meets party members. There could be many reasons for not attending the Chief Minister`s meeting, like meeting medical experts etc. But please don`t link it to politics.”
Earlier, sources said that during the AIADMK`s executive party meet on September 28, the discussions for party`s Chief Ministerial face was debated for more than five hours with Palaniswami and Panneerselvam in the race.
During the meeting, it was also felt that in case the current Chief Minister was not named as the candidate for the next year`s Assembly elections it would make the party and its government in the state a subject of ridicule for the Opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).
Palaniswami got backing from senior leaders S Semmalai, P Thangamani, CV Shanmugam and Natham R Viswanathan in the meeting.
A top source in the party, who himself was earlier backing Panneerselvam before the merger, said that the debate around the Chief Minister post candidate should be considered settled now with most of the leaders agreeing with the final outcome “as of now” to Palaniswami as a candidate for 2021 elections.
After the death of former AIADMK chief and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in December 2016, the party faced a major crisis as two opposing camps, led by Palaniswami and Panneerselvam, fought for the top post. This happened after Panneerselvam had rebelled against former AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala. However, the two factions merged later in 2017, and Palaniswami took oath as the chief minister, with Paneerselvam becoming his deputy.