AIADMK sees rise of the sons

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam during the inaugural session of the second edition of Global Investors Meet (GIM) 2019 at Trade Centre, in Chennai, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019. PTI

The 2019 General Elections may finally witness the rise of sons in the ruling AIADMK.

P Ravindranath and P Mithun, sons of Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, might contest the Lok Sabha elections from Theni and Salem, respectively, if one goes by recent developments.

While Ravindranath has expressed interest in contesting the Lok Sabha polls by applying to the AIADMK, Palaniswami’s supporters have sought a ticket for Mithun, who is yet to hold any official position in the AIADMK.

The recent developments are interesting as the AIADMK has always targeted the DMK for promoting family politics — this is the first time its own leaders have openly sought tickets for their family members.

One rare instance when the child of an active AIADMK leader was given a seat was in 2014, the then party chief J Jayalalithaa fielded J Jayavardhan, son of incumbent minister D Jayakumar, from the Chennai South constituency.

Ravindranath has been in the AIADMK for quite long now. He had held positions in the party’s frontal organisations when Jayalalithaa was alive but was removed by her.

Ravindranath was later given positions in the party after his father Panneerselvam was made its convener, as part of the compromise formula between him and Palaniswami.

Sources said Panneerselvam has been broaching the topic of a ticket for his son within the party for a while now.

But this is the first time the party is hearing of political aspirations from Palaniswami's immediate family.

"Since Mithun has not sought a ticket on his own, this could be a ploy by Palaniswami to deny a ticket to Ravindranath by saying he does not want children of the top leaders to contest, when the elder leaders are active in politics," a senior leader said.

After Ravindranath seeking a ticket from the AIADMK stronghold of Theni triggered a controversy, Panneerselvam said anyone with qualification and talent can enter politics.

"We had issued a statement saying those who want to fight the polls on behalf of the AIADMK can apply. On that basis, he (Ravindranath) has also applied," Panneerselvam told reporters on Wednesday.

He was responding to rebel leader T T V Dhinakaran, who called out Panneerselvam's earlier stand against family politics and said there seems to be a different yardstick for deputy chief ministers and for others.

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