Muslim votes forced AIADMK’s U-turn on triple talaq

Edappadi K Palaniswami. (PTI Photo)

Tamil Nadu’s ruling AIADMK’s volte-face in Parliament on Triple Talaq bill not just exposes the cold war between Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam, but also the party’s desperation to win over Muslim votes in the August 5 elections to Vellore Lok Sabha constituency.

While the party’s lone member in Lok Sabha, P Ravindranath, the of Panneerselvam, supported the bill in the Lower House and even billed it as “historic”, the AIADMK’s floor leader in Rajya Sabha, A Navaneethakrishnan, took a U-turn on Tuesday by opposing it.

Sources in the party said Ravindranath did not consult the party’s leadership, especially Palaniswami, before participating in the debate in Lok Sabha last week and went ahead and supported the Bill that was opposed by late J Jayalalithaa.

It is an open secret that Palaniswami and Panneerselvam don’t see eye to eye and have been at loggerheads.

Since Ravindranath is the lone member of the party in AIADMK, he does not consult Palaniswami and mostly discusses issues only with his father, sources said.

The AIADMK had opposed the bill in 2018, when it was tabled in Lok Sabha by the Narendra Modi government, with its member A Anwar Raaja opposing it tooth and nail.

As criticism mounted over AIADMK’s support for the controversial bill, the ruling party went into a damage control mode on Tuesday, by opposing it on the floor of the House. However, the AIADMK which now has 11 members in the Upper House, abstained from voting, indirectly helping the government pass the legislation.

The damage control was forced on the AIADMK since the timing was crucial – polls to Vellore Lok Sabha seat, which has sizeable Muslim votes, is scheduled for August 5.

“Opposing the bill in Rajya Sabha was necessary because the DMK was projecting AIADMK as anti-minorities. Losing Muslim votes would cost the party in a big way in Vellore,” a senior leader told DH.

The AIADMK lost support from Muslims and Christians in the Lok Sabha polls held in April largely due to its alliance with the BJP. Winning Vellore is crucial for the AIADMK. which is pulling all stops to defeat the DMK, which has fielded Kadhir Anand, son of party treasurer Durai Murugan.

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