It discusses the impact of the Vanniyar quota on the party’s performance in Assembly poll and efficacy of steering panel
The meeting of senior office-bearers and district secretaries of the AIADMK on Wednesday saw an intense exchange of views on several issues, including the impact of the 10.5% quota for the Vanniyars on the party’s performance in the last Assembly election and the efficacy of the steering committee.
Though the meeting was convened to discuss the party’s preparedness for the urban local bodies elections and the organisational elections, it discussed other issues. The camps of coordinator O. Panneerselvam and co-coordinator Edappadi K. Palaniswami were also engaged in placing their arguments and counter-arguments.
The trouble began when A. Anwhar Raajhaa, minorities wing secretary and former Ramanathapuram MP, rose to make his point on the strategy to be adopted for the local bodies elections. Some members, including G. Hari, former Arakkonam MP, and C.Ve. Shanmugam, former Law Minister, protested against Mr. Raajhaa for having made “derogatory” remarks against Mr. Palaniswami. P. Venugopal, former Tiruvallur MP, went to the defence of Mr. Raajhaa, who expressed regret for his observations and wanted the party to go it alone in the urban local bodies elections.
K.A. Sengottaiyan, former School Education Minister, said the services of senior leaders should be utilised better. Paul Manoj Pandian, Alangulam MLA, stressed the need for providing adequate space to different communities within the party.
However, the meeting, which lasted four-and-a-half hours, also witnessed Mr. Panneerselvam and Mr. Palaniswami articulating their divergent views on the 10.5% quota and the steering committee.
The coordinator suggested that the steering committee’s size be increased to take in some of the senior members. He wanted the committee to be given a critical role in decision-making. But Mr. Palaniswami expressed reservations about the idea of the panel being given such a role, when he and Mr. Panneerselvam themselves could not effectively address several issues. When Mr. Panneerselvam said the quota was one of the factors that led to the party’s defeat in the southern districts, the co-coordinator said the decision was “a collective one”.
Briefing reporters on the discussions, D. Jayakumar, organisation secretary, said the exchange of views took place in a “healthy way” and in a “democratic manner”.
While the meeting was in progress, a section of party members of a panchayat union in Chengalpattu district staged a demonstration in the party headquarters, demanding that the local office-bearers be changed. They dispersed after party representatives pacified them.
Mr. Sengottaiyan wanted transparency in the decision-making process and felt that the size of the steering committee could be increased. A proposal was mooted to increase the number of members from 11 to 18.
Clarifying his public remarks on the question of admitting former interim general secretary V. K. Sasikala back into the party, Mr. Panneerselvam explained that he did not favour or oppose any course of action. His remarks had only underscored the importance of all the senior functionaries to be involved in decision-making. As for the 10.5% quota, the coordinator recalled that it was he who had moved the Bill in the Assembly. But his point was that all other communities should be taken into confidence.
A release said the party’s executive would meet on December 1.
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