Chennai: Former Tamil Nadu deputy chief minister and expelled AIADMK leader, O. Panneerselvam seems to have lost out totally to his opponent in AIADMK politics, Edappadi K. Palaniswami (EPS).
The Madras High Court division bench had on Friday disposed of the petition by OPS against the expulsion of himself and three of his associates. With the petition being disposed of, the legal battle for OPS is almost over.
Sources in the OPS camp told IANS that his joining as deputy chief minister in the Edappadi K. Palaniswami (EPS) government had led to the downfall and loss of trust by the cadres and sympathisers.
The beleaguered leader will now have to play his cards close to his chest if there is a comeback and for that he would have to use his caste credentials. OPS is a Thevar and his community is powerful in South Tamil Nadu and the community can effectively torpedo the prospects of the AIADMK in many South Tamil Nadu Lok Sabha constituencies during the 2024 polls.
According to a senior leader associated with the OPS camp, he will have to play the Thevar card as a last resort to bring his glory back in the party fold. However after EPS conducting a massive rally of the party at Madurai, that camp is confident that they have made inroads into the Thevar camp.
It may be noted that in Tamil Nadu there is bitter caste rivalry and Thevar community will not support EPS, a Gounder.
With the 2024 Lok Sabha polls round the corner, OPS will have to reshape his programmes and policies to wriggle back into consideration and to gain the lost ground in the party.