On 15th May 2018, even before the complete results of Karnataka assembly poll results were fully known, Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam displayed undue excitement by sending letters to BJP president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to extend his felicitations for the victory and thereby ‘bellwethering a grand entry to South India.’ Such was O.Panneerselvam’s enthusiasm to please both Modi and Amit Shah.
Panneerselvam used to be the trump card of BJP, with the Prime Minister himself granting him audience 5 times in a month. Last year, before the merger of two factions, OPS used to be the blue-eyed boy of Modi, and naturally all other senior leaders of BJP used to treat OPS with respect.
It was Modi who personally engineered the merger between the two ADMK factions. Subsequently, the then Governor Vidhya Sagar Rao, did the honours by joining hands of EPS & OPS. After the merger, OPS’s stocks started going downhill. The red carpet he enjoyed in Delhi was withdrawn and he was not able to command the old respect he used to command.
The central government and BJP leaders continued to heap insults after insults on the TN government and the ruling dispensation. While it was expected of the ADMK leaders to stand upright and hit back the central government, they turned too timid and not only started running with tail between their legs, but also crawled before BJP leaders.
The charge by Union Minister Pon.Radhakrishnan and several senior BJP leaders that Naxalites and left wing extremists have infiltrated all over Tamil Nadu should have been retorted strongly by CM, Dy. CM and senior Ministers. But sadly, they chose to turn a Nelson’s eye.
Though ADMK leaders vied upon each other to sing hosanna’s to Modi & BJP government, BJP leaders taking a cue from their high command, continued to treat TN CM and its ministers like trash.
The height of the insult was by Amit Shah when he visited Chennai. Amit Shah, during a meeting in Chennai on 9th July 2018 said, “Tamil Nadu is one of the leading states in the country when it comes to a higher level of corruption. The public should come forward to fight corruption and they should stay away from cash-for-votes”. The words of Amit Shah, the president of BJP is a direct attack on the ADMK government.
Though Fisheries Minister D.Jayakumar chose to play it down, the damage was done. Public got a sense that all is not well with ADMK and BJP. The Income Tax raids and huge seizure of cash and gold bullions, from contractors very close to CM Edappadi Palanisamy, proved that things are going downhill.
However, ADMK leaders continued to put up a very brave face. With the Income Tax raids and Amit Shah’s remarks put the ADMK in huge embarrassment, a question was looming large how the ADMK would vote in the no-confidence motion in parliament.
But much to the chagrin of TN people, all 37 ADMK MPs voted in favour of BJP Government. While there was speculation that there were calls from BJP leaders to ADMK leaders seeking support for government, BJP leadership denied they ever made such calls. ADMK MPs, totally stood with BJP.
On Sunday, at the BJP women wing conference in Madurai, Tamil Nadu unit president Tamilisai Soundararajan said that after the demise of Jayalalithaa who was referred to as ‘Amma’ by her followers, the new ‘Amma’ not just for Tamil Nadu but for the entire country, is Narendra Modi. But, still no word from ADMK leaders.
As a culmination of all this, Deputy Chief Minister O.Panneerselvan, on Monday evening left for Delhi, for a pre-arranged meeting with Union Defence Minister Nirmala Seetharaman. The appointment was arranged by a senior ADMK MP in Delhi and all security clearances were obtained in South Block for OPS and other leaders visit.
Before going to meet Nirmala, at Tamil Nadu house, Panneer Selvam, met the press and informed that it was a personal visit, to thank Nirmala Sitharaman. O.Balamurugan, brother of O.Panneerselvam was under treatment at Madurai for liver cancer and multiple organ failure. Since his condition worsened, on the request of OPS, a defence aircraft was brought from HAL Bangalore, which airlifted OPS brother from Madurai to Chennai Apollo.
After the brief presser, O.Panneerselvam and Dr.Maithreyan, MP, went to Sitharaman’s office. They were asked to wait. After more than 45 minutes, only Dr.Maithreyan was called in. OPS was never called in.
Sources say, the tone and tenor with which Nirmala Sitharaman shouted at senior leader Dr.Maithreyan, smacked of arrogance, disdain, contempt and scorn. Dr.Maithreyan was very upset after his brief meeting with Nimmy, add sources.
A crestfallen Panneer Selvam, never returned to Tamil Nadu House and left straight to airport. To add insult to injury, in response to a Tamil channel’s tweet that OPS was meeting the defence minister, her office tweeted at 2:44 pm, clarifying that an “appointment was given to Shri V Maitreyan, MP, Rajya Sabha” and that Panneerselvam “has not met Smt Nirmala Sitharaman”.
When reporters quizzed him at Chennai Airport on his return from Delhi, about the insults heaped on him, OPS swallowing his pride, quoted Arignar Anna “One should have a heart to bear anything”.
A Delhi based journalist, who keenly watches TN politics said, “OPS being insulted by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is nothing but height of arrogance. It was a deliberate attempt by Nirmala Sitharaman to humiliate and insult OPS in public. Who is responsible for this ? It’s EPS and OPS who surrender themselves before the BJP leadership.
AIADMK has literally become a laughing stock in the corridors of power in Delhi. This because the way the surrendered before BJP and allowing BJP to run a proxy government in Tamil Nadu.
What happened yesterday is an insult to each and every member of the AIADMK and the people of Tamil Nadu. A minister in Modi cabinet displaying so much of arrogance is not good for Modi and for the BJP in the state.
If AIADMK leaders and party workers have even one percent of shame left in them, they should just stop living at the mercy of BJP. To top it all OPS reaction to the Delhi episode was just disgusting and shows he is an opportunist.
Nirlama Sitharaman wouldn’t have done this when Jaya was alive. If ADMK is being treated like shit by BJP leaders, its time for the AIADMK party workers to seriously think if their party is in the right hands.”
It was OPS’s wrong move which landed him in a soup say sources. After the total support of ADMK MPs, during the no-confidence motion, O.Panneerselvam wanted to flaunt his clout in Delhi with BJP leaders. He wanted to prove that it was he who, ensured the support of 37 MPs. He also wanted to play one-upmanship with EPS and show him, who enjoys more confidence of BJP.
What OPS failed to gauge was that with his and his partymen’s loot right, left and center, the ADMK leaders are at the mercy of BJP and not the other way round.
Senior journalist RK.Radhakrishnan, while speaking on this issue said, “It was unbecoming of a Union Defence Minister to turn down audience to the President of a major political party with 37 MPs in Lok Sabha. It is difficult to believe that a Union Minister was not aware of a Deputy Chief Minister starting all the way from Chennai to meet her.
Appointments like these are always made by senior MPs of a political party with the concerned Minister. Most of the appointments will be made directly with the Minister when Parliament is in session, cutting out the red-tape.
When appointments are made in this manner, Nirmala Sitharaman’s claim that she is not aware of OPS visit to Delhi lacks credibility. Further, O.Panneerselvam also should have been discreet with regard to the personal help rendered by Nirmala Sitharaman”, said RK.Radhakrishnan.
It is a fact that ADMK leaders had little spine when Jayalalitha was alive. While TN expected that they would grow some spine after her death, they lost the little spine and started crawling before BJP. They grew buffaloe’s skin and happily faced any insults heaped on them with a smile. They slugged among themselves to pledge not only themselves, but a political party and its cadres groomed for decades by MGR and Jayalalitha.
Panneerselvam should take a leaf out of Jaya’s politics and learn where to keep a national party – at arm’s length.
Let Nimmy’s insult on OPS and others be a lesson to all ADMK leaders and its cadres. Let them, grow some spine, at least after this humongous insult and try to live up to Jaya’s reputation.