New Delhi: Ahead of the Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, scheduled to be held next year, posters lauding Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam as the ruling AIADMK’s chief ministerial candidate emerged at several places in Theni district, creating ripples within the party. Apar from OPS, Images of Chief Minister Palaniswami, party icons, Jayalalithaa and AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran were displayed in the posters. Also Read - Sasikala's Probable Date of Release is Jan 27, 2021: Bangalore Central Prison

With a common tagline #2021 CM for OPS, suggesting that Panneerselvam should be the CM candidate, one of the posters said that the senior AIADMK leader is the one and only Chief Minister blessed by Puratchi Thalaivi (a reference to Jayalalithaa). Another hailed him as the ‘permanent Chief Minister’ and said said he was the CM for the ordinary people and the poor and blessed by Amma. Also Read - Thalaivi: Makers of Kangana Ranaut Starrer Incur Huge Losses Due to Lockdown, Fear Rains Will Destroy Giant Sets

Meanwhile, Panneerselvam and CM Palaniswami issued a joint statement, saying that all key policy decisions would be taken democratically, and cautioned “functionaries against sharing personal opinions”. Also Read - No NPR For Now in Tamil Nadu: State Government Puts Exercise on Hold After Centre Doesn't Answer Queries

“Party’s decisions, including alliance, will reflect cadre sentiment. All cadres should work unitedly for victory. Functionaries ought to avoid sharing personal opinions. Action will be taken against those violate this,” the joint statement reportedly read.

On the other hand, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami asserted that he has the love and support of the people and vowed to continue to work for them with their well being as his only goal.  After unfurling the tricolour at Fort St George in Chennai on the occasion of the 74th Independence Day celebrations, Palaniswami listed out his government’s initiatives on several fronts, including a slew of measures to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is certain that this government will always be with the people. This is a government for the people. I, who have won your love and support, will continue to work for you all along, with the well-being of the people of Tamil Nadu as the only goal. On this auspicious day, I reiterate this,” he said.

Notably, a debate on “chief ministerial candidate” was triggered after AIADMK”s Madurai based leader and Minister Sellur K Raju days ago said that the CM would be chosen by elected MLAs while another Minister KT Rajenthra Bhalaji favoured projecting the incumbent as the CM candidate.

Party deputy coordinator KP Munsamy had said the AIADMK top leadership would take a decision on the Chief Ministerial candidate for assembly elections and announce it at an appropriate time.

Following the factional feud, Panneerselvam urged party men to be united and act responsibly. “The AIADMK”s only goal is to emerge victorious for the third time in a row in the Assembly elections to be held in 2021. Victory is honourable Amma”s dream. To realise it, it is my appeal that we should act responsibly with a sense of duty, dignity and discipline,” Panneerselvam tweeted.