Chennai, Feb 8: Till yesterday, O Panneerselvam, Chief Minister in-charge of Tamil Nadu, was seen by electorate across the state as an 'obedient' leader, who always followed the diktats of his bosses (read Late Jayalalithaa and Sasikala Natarajan).
The low-profile and quiet Panneerselvam was never seen in public speaking vociferously about any cause. Even when he helmed the affairs of the state on several occasions as the CM, Panneerselvam always kept the picture of Jayalalithaa in his official chair while delivering his duty.
Last year, after Jayalalithaa's demise, we saw teary-eyed Panneerselvam carrying a photograph of Jayalalithaa in his pocket during his swearing-in ceremony. Back in 2012, Paneerselvam set tongues wagging when he prostrated himself in front of Amma--as Jayalalithaa is popularly known among her supporters.
However, that image of OPS is a history now. Today, he is a man who speaks his mind without any fear. Finally, Panneerselvam, the Thalaiva (Leader), has arrived. And, Tamilains are cheering the occasion loudly.
On Tuesday night, we saw how after meditating in front of Jayalalithaa's memorial in Chennai, OPS decided to raise his rebellion against Sasikala Natarajan, the CM in-waiting.
A calm and composed OPS told the world how he was forced to relinquish the CM's chair to make way for Sasikala's ascent. The users of social media hailed him as a 'brave' warrior. So, thus the people on streets as supporters of the 66-year-old leader gathered in front of his residence in the city to celebrate the 'revolt' by their 'hero'.
One man's revolt against the system or political conspiracy
On second thought, the entire dissent displayed by Panneerselvam does not look to be a revolt by an individual. There is more to the political drama than meets the eye.
Never in the past OPS has spoken against the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam or the party's leadership.
Recently he gave his resignation as the state's CM without any murmur. So, what is the reason behind his sudden outburst? Is it his 'conscience' or forces at the Centre behind the protest?
Why Panneerselvam is BJP's best bet
The Bharatiya Janata Party has been trying to gain a foothold in the southern state for some time now. Since the demise of Jayalalithaa, Prime Minister Narendra Modi led-BJP government is trying to cosying up to the AIADMK. It seems it did not work out in the BJP's favour.
Thus when Sasikala was elected as AIADMK legislature party leader, the Centre made sure that her swearing-in ceremony gets delayed. Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, in-charge of the state, is missing to administer the oath-taking ceremony of Sasikala. This could be at the behest of the Centre, suggest political pundits. The BJP is waiting for the Supreme Court's verdict on a case of corruption against Sasikala. The court had reserved orders and is likely to pronounce its verdict next week.
Many leaders of the BJP have openly opposed Sasikala as the next CM. In such a scenario, the role of the BJP in OPS's rebellion can't be ruled out.