April 19, 2017
Chennai: Who will be the chief minister? This question made its appearance again on Wednesday after AIADMK (Amma) deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran declared he was stepping aside from party affairs to make way for merger of the two factions.
While the OPS camp is jubilant that the former chief minister will be back at the helm of affairs, for the fourth time on his own steam, the Chief Minister Edapaddi Palaniswami is said to be equally insistent that the present arrangement should not be disturbed.
Both the sides have welcomed Dinakaran’s statement that he would not come in the way of merger of the two sides and that he will have nothing to do with the party affairs.
Panneerselvam described it as “first victory” in the dharma yudha he had launched against Sasikala and her clan. He is firmly demanding that there must be a probe into the death of Jayalalithaa and this is a precondition that he wants fulfilled before any formal talks begin for merger of the two parties.
The real reason for the merger at this stage is that “they have seen the ground reality and the groundswell of support for OPS in the RK Nagar constituency as also across Tamil Nadu. The local body polls are also near and if the AIADMK has to do well in the polls, then it must stay united or else lose ground to a resurgent DMK-Congress combine.
And more urgently, it is the two leaves symbol that both the factions want. They are already fighting over it in the election commission and if they unite and come to an understanding then the symbol would be theirs. The importance of symbol is not lost on the political parties.
Besides, the OPS faction has also moved the commission to declare election of Sasikala as general secretary of the party null and void, as proper procedures were not followed in her election.
Now, formal talks between the two factions of the AIADMK are expected to take place from tomorrow after both sides form teams for negotiations.
The main issue before the two sides is as to who will be the chief minster? While the OPS camp wants him to be back as the chief minister, with EPS as deputy chief minister and a committee to oversee party functioning, the present ruling faction does not want to make any change. Edapaddi Palaniswami, Chief Minister for over two months is in no mood to relent, sources said.
But, OPS is driving a hard bargain.
And having taken a bold step as to sideline or announcing to sideline Sasikala, he knows the EPS side now has to sail or sink with him.
Plus, he has time on his side and can wait out. Besides, if the EC rules in his favor, then E Madhusudhanan becomes the AIADMK presidium chairman and can take all party decisions. But in between all this tussle, the two sides are well aware of the destructive power that Dinakaran may still wield with his handful of supporters.
It remains to be seen as to how many actual supporters he has got and if he can inflict any damage to the arrangement that is being worked out, now or in the future.
But for the present he has the Delhi police team, which has arrived in Chennai, to worry about. The Delhi police team has come to Chennai to question him in the alleged bribery of election commission to secure the two leaves symbol for his faction.