'The BJP plans to win 10 (Lok Sabha) seats (in Tamil Nadu) and the alliance (with the AIADMK) 20 seats in 2024.'
The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam expelled former chief minister O Panneerselvam (OPS) after the general council meeting on Monday, July 11, 2022, and heralded Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) as the AIADMK's sole leader.
"The BJP wants to get the AIADMK vote, but that will not happen overnight. They have to wait. They need the AIADMK now. Once their vote share increases, they will try to break the AIADMK," Dr Sumanth Raman, a veteran observer of Tamil Nadu politics, tells Rediff.com's A Ganesh Nadar.
Is it a last hurrah for OPS -- barging into the party office on Monday, issuing statements from there?
If you look at it objectively, it is extremely difficult for him to come back from this action. The odds are stacked against him.
What did he think he was achieving by this act of bravado?
He may have miscalculated on the BJP supporting him.
The BJP needs the AIADMK for the Parliamentary elections in 2024.
They don't want it to implode now. OPS also doesn't have any support within the party.
What do you think he will do next?
He has very limited options. He has to wait till Edappadi has other dissidents within the party.
What choices does he have?
He does not have the support of the cadre. He has to wait for a year. He can go and meet the people to garner public support.
The BJP will not want him now.
He can go to Sasikala (V K Sasikala, the late J Jayalalithaa's companion, who was expelled from the AIADMK after Jayalalithaa's death) but she does not have any public support. There is no benefit in it.
He has to wait for EPS to do something wrong or for the BJP to support him.
In 2017 it was said the BJP nudged OPS to take the deputy chief minister's post. Do you think the BJP will intervene in the AIADMK inter-party dispute?
The BJP will not do anything to weaken the AIADMK before 2024.
The BJP plans to win 10 (Lok Sabha) seats (in Tamil Nadu) and the alliance (with the AIADMK) 20 seats in 2024.
Annamalai (the BJP's Tamil Nadu president) has said that it is an internal matter of the AIADMK.
The dual leadership worked while EPS and OPS were in power. What happened when they went into the Opposition?
Dual leadership was never a long time solution. They agreed to dual leadership just to stay in power.
After they lost power, they managed to stay with that for a year.
The AIADMK is said to have a committed vote bank. How much of the vote bank can T T V Dinakaran of the AMMK, Sasikala and OPS influence?
Dinakaran influences a few constituencies.
There is a wave against Sasikala because they think she did not take care of Jayalalithaa towards the end.
OPS's influence is only in his native Theni district.
The Congress, PMK, DMDK -- none of them are aggressive enough to go after the AIADMK voters. Do you think the BJP will benefit the most from this turmoil in the AIADMK?
The BJP wants to get the AIADMK vote, but that will not happen overnight. They have to wait.
They need the AIADMK now. Once their vote share increases, they will try to break the AIADMK.
See what they did to the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra.
Don't you think the DMK will be happier with the AIADMK as its main opponent, rather than the BJP?
The DMK is better off with the AIADMK.
You have to keep in mind that the BJP has an unparalleled election machinery which will be at play in the 2026 assembly elections.
Once the BJP vote share hits 20%, they will be a formidable opponent.
Do you think it is the end of the road for OPS?
In politics, there is no end to the road.
In the near future, OPS cannot do anything. By himself, he cannot do much.
Only if there is any complication between EPS and the BJP, then he is relevant.
From being chief minister three times to being expelled from the party -- what went wrong for OPS?
He overestimated himself.
Once it was clear that EPS had the support of the majority he should have proposed EPS's name for general secretary.
He should have become chairman of the party and also asked for a party post for his son. He should have stayed in the background.
Feature Presentation: Rajesh Alva/Rediff.com