Why the speculated AIADMK merger might be the beginning of a new problem?
Chennai: If the split in the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) that happened in February was between V.K. Sasikala and former chief minister O. Panneerselvam, the merger—if it happens—will be between chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and Panneerselvam. However, any merger may actually be the beginning of another break.
Despite Thursday’s decision to remove T.T.V. Dhinakaran from the party—a move that seemingly put the party’s rival factions on the merger path—it is not easy to write him off.
Sasikala’s nephew will be addressing his first public meeting in Madurai on Monday “and, more than the cadres, the important factor to watch out for is the number of MLAs who turn up. If Dhinakaran is able to retain support of the 25-30 MLAs who have been expressing solidarity with him, it can disturb the Palaniswami government,” said N. Sathiya Moorthy, director of the Chennai chapter of think tank Observer Research Foundation.
Dhinakaran, who was appointed by Sasikala as her deputy following her conviction in a disproportionate assets case, was sidelined by the party in April. He went into self-imposed exile after being named as a suspect for allegedly trying to bribe Election Commission officials.
Granted bail in June, Dhinakaran emerged last week to announce a state-wide tour and appointed 64 members including 20 MLAs to different positions in the party, as an attempt to show his supremacy.
The Palaniswami government which won a trust vote in February has a wafer-thin majority of six MLAs.
On Friday, the leader of opposition in the Tamil Nadu assembly and working president of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) M.K. Stalin said, “For the sake of the people, we will bring a no-confidence motion against the government if necessary.”
Stalin had earlier made a statement on 30 June where he said that his party “will not hesitate to bring down” the government run by Palaniswami in a “democratic way”.
“In fact, Stalin’s statement (on 30 June) could have sparked Dhinakaran’s move to appoint new office-bearers which in turn pressurized the Palaniswami camp to restart their merger talks,” said Sathiya Moorthy.
While power-sharing has been a contentious issue between the two factions, the Panneerselvam camp has also been demanding the sacking of Sasikala and her family members from the party. Thursday’s resolution that declared Dhinakaran’s appointment as deputy general secretary invalid, refrained from mentioning Sasikala’s appointment.
“The issue regarding the appointment of general secretary is before Election Commission and if the EC decides it be invalid and asks us to conduct fresh elections, we will do it,” said Avadi Kumar, spokesperson of the Palaniswami faction of the AIADMK.