In an interesting twist, rebel AMMK leader Thanga Tamil Selvan, a former close aide of party chief TTV Dhinakaran, has formally joined the Opposition DMK on Friday (June 28), even though speculations were rife that he would join the ruling AIADMK.
Following a TV interview and an audio leak a couple of days ago, Dhinakaran had told the media that the party was considering to sack Tamil Selvan.
In the leaked audio footage, the then propaganda secretary, Tamil Selvan, was heard criticising the party leadership. He was heard repeatedly hailing Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and his regime.
Did OPS stall Selvan’s AIADMK entry?
This triggered a speculation that Tamil Selvan would join the ruling party. However, it is believed said that Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam had tried to stall the entry of Tamil Selvan into the party as it may create a disruption at the district level, since both the leaders are influential in Theni region.
While the AMMK has not officially announced the removal of Selvan, in an unexpected turn of events, the latter joined the DMK along with his supporters on June 28 morning.
After joining the DMK, Tamil Selvan hailed party chief Stalin as an ‘influential leader’. Addressing the media at Anna Arivalayam, he said the party will perform better since it has a single leadership.
“In the AIADMK, there’s always a condition of ambivalence. They are operated by the BJP from behind. I don’t want to join them at the cost of losing my self-respect. I did not expect any position in the party. But I hope, after seeing my work, the leadership will give me a position,” he added.
Defection not new to AIADMK
He is the third major AIADMK leader, who later joined the AMMK, to have now defected to the opposition DMK, after V Senthil Balaji and VP Kalairajan. He won three Assembly elections — in 2001, 2011 and 2016 — from Theni’s Andipatti constituency.
It must be noted that Tamil Selvan had vacated his Assembly seat in 2002 to make way for then AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa, so that she could be re-elected from the constituency after the Supreme Court convicted her in the TANSI case and dethroned her from the chief minister’s seat.
Meanwhile, O Panneerselvam was appointed as the CM for the first time. Considering that the DMK do not have a stronghold in Theni, Tamil Selvan’s entry can only be expected to strengthen the party’s unit there, say political observers.