Theni MP and son of Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, Raveendranath Kumar was travelling to check on polling when his car was pelted with stones. He was on his way to inspect the polling at Perumalgoudanpatty in Bodinayakanur of the Theni district, on Tuesday, when the incident happened. The MP alleged that the miscreants who attacked the car belonged to the DMK and they were drunk.
Speaking to reporters, Raveendranath Kumar said, “I was going to inspect the voting booths and throughout the way, people have shown support for AIADMK. So when I came to this constituency some DMK members who were drunk pelted stones and unleashed a deadly attack on me and other AIADMK members.”
The video that emerged after the incident showed damage to the windowpane and rear windshield of Raveendranath’s car. However, the MP, as well as AIADMK members who accompanied him, were uninjured.
Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister Panneerselvam is contesting and seeking a hat trick win from Bodinayakanur. In February 2017, O Panneerselvam conducted a Dharma Yudham against Sasikala and the AIADMK at Jayalalithaa’s memorial. Following this, Sasikala expelled Panneerselvam from the party and called him a traitor.
In a recent interview, O Panneerselvam said that he never doubted Sasikala over Jayalalithaa’s death nor was he angry with her. He also said that the party will consider allowing her to rejoin if she accepts the democratic set-up of the AIADMK. But Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, who is the Joint-Coordinator of the AIADMK, immediately made a strong objection to the statement and said that his view on Sasikala remains unaltered at a meeting conducted between the two leaders in Dindigul.
However, several members confirmed to TNM that the sudden diktat was due to the caste consolidation in the Theni district. Bodinayakanur from where OPS is contesting has a large number of Thevar votes and both OPS and Sasikala belong to the same community. With already fear over a backlash due to the 10.5% internal quota for Vanniyars, OPS has taken a softer stand to avoid the split of Thevar voters.
The DMK has fielded former AIADMK and AMMK party member Thanga Tamilselvan against OPS, but the answer as to who will win the seat will only be known on May 2.