Once a powerful man in Tamil Nadu politics, a three time Chief Minister, O.Panneerselvam, or OPS as he is popularly known, is a sad man today. Unable to control his warring siblings, and grappling with the problems created by his own party men, OPS is a very lonely man today. Some in the party say it is ‘Karma’ biting back.
As we have reported in this piece, OPS has lost the respect he once commanded inside his party and his native district. His support base is shrinking by the day and even OPS realises it. Do not be surprised, if OPS chooses not to contest and instead demand the reigns of party, post elections. Such is the trouble brewing inside his family.
Egged on by his sons, it was OPS who started the muscle-flexing competition with TN Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisamy, shortly before Independence day. OPS overestimated his strengths and was pinning his hopes on Delhi to swing things in his favour. But a few activities of his sons including his foreign investments had put off BJP high command and now the BJP too wants to ensure that OPS goes into sunset.
Whereas on the other hand, OPS’s bete noire Edappadi Palanisamy is moving from strength to strength. He has not only consolidated his position inside the party, but he has also indicated to Delhi – I am the Boss. As of now, it is EPS alone who is in perfect sync with Delhi. Such was the sweet festival offer EPS gave to the BJP.
OPS who rose from rags to riches was a humble man. From the owner of ‘Rosy Tea Shop’ to a man sitting over 10,000 crores of properties / liquid cash, the journey was not easy for OPS. In spite of falling out with Jayalalitha several times, OPS always bounced back and earned her confidence. However, he slipped when he joined hands with the notorious Mylapore power broker Gurumurthy. In his greed to retain power and having become addictive to collecting bribe, OPS listened to Gurumurthy’s words blindly. Like a new drug, the unparalleled crowds he drew during ‘Dharma Yudham’ took him to unimaginable heights. But the initial euphoria waned after a few days and OPS had to survive very hard to sustain the momentum. His frequent meetings with Narendra Modi too failed to lift the spirits.
Understanding the writing on the wall OPS buckled meekly after mortgaging his supporters. The overwhelming support OPS received in social media was orchestrated by one person. The now ADMK spokesperson Kovai Sathyan. He single handedly created a war room, hired young talents and ensured OPS was a hero.
To cite an example of how greedy and selfish OPS family is, Kovai Sathyan suffered an accident in his two wheeler, suffered head injuries and is now in ICU, Apollo Main. The information was immediately conveyed to OPS and his two sons. But, none bothered to ring up Sathyan’s wife or his close relatives who were all camping in Apollo.
The information was conveyed to Edappadi Palanisamy. He immediately asked his office to place a call to Apollo’s director Preetha Reddy. He spoke to her and asked her to give the best treatment to Kovai Sathyan and also told her not to worry about the expenses. He then called Kovai Sathyan’s wife and gave her complete assurance add a source from AIADMK say highly placed sources.
EPS also followed up with a tweet :
கழக செய்தித் தொடர்பாளரும், வேலூர் மண்டல கழக தொழில்நுட்பப்பிரிவு செயலாளருமான திரு.கோவை சத்யன் அவர்கள் சாலை விபத்தில் காயமுற்று மருத்துவமனையில் அனுமதிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளதை அறிந்து அதிர்ச்சியடைந்தேன்.@KovaiSathyan அவர்கள் விரைவில் பூரண நலம்பெற்று வீடு திரும்ப இறைவனை பிரார்த்திக்கிறேன்.
— Edappadi K Palaniswami (@CMOTamilNadu) October 25, 2020
EPS also gave them his PA’s number and asked them to call the PAs in case of any emergency. An assurance like this from the Chief Minister at this crucial juncture has comforted the family. This is just one example of how OPS treated his loyalists. There are several more sorry tales to say. Kovai Sathyan’s case is just a small tip of a huge iceberg.
An AIADMK leader, on condition of anonymity, had this to say : “It is not only Kovai Sathyan. Everyone who followed OPS had the wrong end of the stick. Take the case of KP Munusamy. He had to surrender to EPS to get a Rajya Sabha seat. If he had remained in OPS camp, he would not be an MP today. Dr. Maithreyan is another case. A three time MP, Maithreyan was the first to join the Dharma Yudham 1.0. Now he is a lone man without any support, and he is contemplating to go to BJP.
The 11 MLAs, who were about to lose their MLA post, owe their position only due to EPS and not otherwise. AIADMK veteran, Semmalai, without any position even in the party is a bitter man now.
In fact, OPS’s graph is so down that his own district’s AIADMK secretary Sayed Khan refused to throw his weight behind OPS. In the Executive Committee meet, Sayed Khan said, ‘There is no point in fighting who is the CM candidate. You may please discuss among yourselves and take a call. This is a not a matter to discuss in public’. And sources add, before the EC meeting, EPS had taken over Sayed Khan and it was he who, made him speak in the EC meet.”
The leader further said, “Just name me one of the 11 MLA who was with him during Dharma Yudham with him now. There is none. OPS is competing to be CM candidate. I challenge OPS. I challenge him to win, just 4 constituencies in his native Theni district.
He is the party coordinator. Apart from Theni how many districts he had visited, tell me !!. Is he Theni district secretary or State Coordinator ? If he is not able to win just 4 constituencies in Theni district, how will he win the state for AIADMK ?
He is a spent force in AIADMK. He is a liability to the party now”, said the anonymous AIADMK source.
At one point of time, Edappadi Palanisamy decided to ditch BJP. His community people, who view EPS as their hero also advised him to severe ties. When he was almost convinced to ditch BJP, BJP’s trojan horse inside AIADMK – Sunil Kanogulu, persuaded EPS to take BJP in.
When EPS continued to counter Sunil why he should not go with BJP, Sunil bowled a googly. He told EPS, it is very unlikely ADMK is going to win 2021. If DMK comes to power, Stalin will hound EPS and his family with DVAC. It may be a repeat of DVAC’s glorious days in 1996. When such a situation arises, the only fall back plan would be that of BJP. BJP alone can ensure protection by interfering DVAC with central agencies and sabotage the probes. And he can maneuver this favour through his contacts. This made EPS thinking.
He finally decided to take BJP in on a few conditions. The candidates for BJP also would be selected by AIADMK. EPS is afraid that BJP may seek tickets for rowdy elements who are still wanted by police. Further EPS assured that he will ensure a win for BJP in at least 20 of the 25 constituencies. How can BJP reject this sweet offer? The offer was immediately accepted and the alliance for 2021 was sealed without the party Coordinator OPS playing any role in it.
A source close to Sunil, flatly denied the charge that Sunil has got to do something with AIADMK alliance. The source added, “Alliances are not final. A call will be taken by AIADMK high command at an appropriate time.
And BJP is not depending on AIADMK. Their first priority is Rajinikanth. Rajini has promised to commence party in December 2020. A final call on the alliance will be taken around February. This is too early” said the source close to Sunil.
Once OPS’s god father, the Mylapore Broker was furious as OPS ditched him in a crucial time. Before OPS commenced Dharma Yudham 1.0, he was instructed not to resign at any cost and that the BJP will back him to the hilt, even at the cost of suspending the assembly. But, OPS, a timid character, meekly resigned.
Unmindful of these developments, OPS continued to bank on BJP’s support for his undeclared Dharma Yudham 2.0. OPS was trying to galvanise support from all quarters including the media. In the last minute, OPS ensured TNHB house allotment for 5-6 prominent journalists working in the Tamil news channels to get positive coverage for himself during Dharma Yudham 2.0. But it was of no use.
When OPS realized that his game is up, he meekly surrendered.
The reason for emergence of EPS as the only leader in AIADMK is not only this.
Ministers and other senior leaders in AIADMK were given the task of taking care of expenses for 2021 polls. The estimate of AIADMK for each constituency is 20 crores.
As per the arrangement proposed by EPS, He will take care of 90 constituencies. Thangamani and Velumani will bear the cost of 20 each. When OPS was asked whether he can take care of 50 constituencies, he pleaded inability and only agreed to 20 constituencies. EPS did not utter a word.
Apart from the above arrangement, each Minister should take care of one more constituency apart from theirs.
Former Minister Vaithiyalingam was asked to take care of 25 constituencies. In the last minute, Vaithiyalingam expressed his inability. Without uttering anything, EPS agreed to take on the 25 constituencies earmarked for Vaithiyalingam.
Apart from this, Edappadi Palanisamy also agreed to bear the expenses for BJP in 25 constituencies of which he assured 20 are winnable. As of now, TN CM Edappadi Palanisamy will be taking care of 140 constituencies.
This has taken the stature of EPS to astronomical heights. And don’t be surprised. The recently signed MoUs with industries have been done without receiving a single penny as commission. As Deputy Chief Minister, some of the files went to OPS for clearance. When he asked for a commission, EPS rang him up and said, TN should have a few industries before AIADMK’s tenure ends. All other connected Ministers and Officers have also been issued clear instructions in this regard.
The three time Chief Minister OPS, is now helplessly watching the developments in the party.
Apart from this, CM Edappadi Palanisamy is furious on OPS for another important reason.
As people who watch TN politics would be in the know, Puthiya Tamilagam President Dr. K Krishnasamy, has been maintaining the demand for grouping of “Kudumban”. “Devendrakulathan”, “Kadaiyan”, “Pannadi” and “Kalladi” with a new nomenclature “Devendra Kula Vellalar”. Initially, EPS was agreeable to this demand without understanding the far reaching complications.
The Scheduled Caste reservation is guided by the Presidential Order on Scheduled Castes of 1950. If the name of the above mentioned sects renamed as “Devendra Kula Vellalar” this name will not find a place in the presidential order. As such, all Pallars will lose reservation. They will not fit in any of the reservation categories.
After understanding the difficulties, EPS decided to put this demand into cold storage. Further, a PIL by one Amarnath of Lalgudi, Trichy filed a PIL in the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court against this demand and demanding scrapping of the Hans Raj Varma IAS committee, which was formed in March 2019, to examine this demand. For further details, read this fine piece by Sruthisagar Yamunan. Link
Sensing this, OPS instigated the Pallar group and on 22 October 2020, representatives of Pallar group met, OPS at his residence at Theni and persuaded him to issue G.O in their favour. He added insult to the injury by issuing a press release. This further infuriated EPS.
And OPS is at the receiving end in his family too.
While OPS’s senior sibling has become an MP and is eying a place in cabinet, the two younger siblings Jayapradheep and his daughter, Kavitha Banu. Their grievance is that, 300 crores were spent for Ravindranath. Where is their share ?
When OPS offered properties to the value of 300 crores, Jayapradheep shot it down saying, at the end of the day, all properties have to be shared. He put his foot down firmly demanded 300 crores in cash for his expenses to his constituency which he is very sure he will contest. The daughter – Kavitha Banu too demanded her share in 300 crores.
On his part, Ravindranath is upset too. Ravindranath’s recent ‘fun trip’ to Maldives was not known to OPS. After the issue made headlines, OPS became very upset that the secret trip will mar Ravi’s chances of becoming a Minister. When he pointed this out to Ravi, Ravi became furious and left for his farm house. He was so upset, that his mother and sister had to plead with him for celebration of Ayutha Pooja.
The younger sibling Jayapradheep is almost a clone of Kalaingar’s son MK Alagiri. Jayapradheep would listen to none and he only listens to his chamchas. Further he is also very unpredictable. No one can say, when he will release a video condemning his family.
With his problems mounting everyday, the former Tea Stall Owner OPS is a lonely man now. With his lone supporter inside the party, JCD Prabakar likely to switch over to EPS camp, the endgame is nearing for OPS.