Caste inequations: Is the AIADMK coming apart?

Illustration: Prathap Ravishankar

Two huge life size banners of Jayalalithaa overlook the AIADMK headquarters at Royapettah in Chennai. A woman in her 50s staring at the banners with folded hands mumbled: “Amma, en dheivame … ivanga aatatha ellam paakringala?” (Amma, My God… Are you watching them play the game?)

“Who are playing the game?” I asked.

“Who else, the two who are leading the party,” she said, referring to Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam (OPS).

The woman was among hundreds of others who had come from Tirupur district with a plea to reinstate Udumalai K Radhakrishnan as Tirupur suburban district secretary. Earlier in March, the AIADMK made a few organizational changes and shuffled many key functionaries. “With elections round the corner, such changes will create unnecessary friction within the party,” said S Sundarasamy, a panchayat union secretary from Tirupur district.

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