The ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu will face the 2021 Assembly election projecting incumbent CM Edappadi K Palaniswami as its face, party coordinator and Deputy CM O Panneerselvam announced on Wednesday. The announcement followed a truce reached between EKP and OP following marathon discussions they held separately with second line netas lasting till 3.15 am.
As a quid pro quo, Palaniswami announced an 11-member steering committee, a key demand placed by OP, merging his faction with the group headed by the former in 2017. The panel will comprise 6 ministers, supporters of OP including the powerful western duo of SP Velumani and P Thangamani, and 5 supporters of Panneerselvam comprising 5 ex-elected representatives.
OP made the formal announcement that EKP will be the AIADMK’s CM candidate for 2021 assembly poll.
Conspicuously, there was no representation for any woman leader in the steering committee in a party that was headed by a powerful woman J Jayalalithaa, who had men, even those elder to her, prostrating before her for nearly 30 years.
Sources said both EKP and OP adopted a give and take policy to reach the pact. “Palaniswami, who was reluctant to form the steering committee, budged on realising Panneerselvam was in no mood to give up on his demand, as ADMK must remain united to face the next election to put up a decent fight before DMK. And, Paneerselvam realised he had no chance of being projected as the CM face,” a leader said.