Chennai, August 10: There are speculations that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami’s faction and former chief minister and rebel O Panneerselvam’s faction are in talks for merger. Even as the two sides move towards reconciliation, the two leaders are believed to be sticking to their guns and have not yet given any indication of accepting the demand of the other side.Also Read - Babul Supriyo Says Won't Join Any Party After Exit From BJP; Edits it Out Later
The two leaders will be in the national capital on Thursday to attend M Venkaiah Naidu’s swearing-in ceremony as the Vice President. Also Read - Babul Supriyo Quits Politics With 'Alvida' to Focus on Social Work
While Palaniswami is likely to remain the Chief Minister, Panneerselvam may get the Deputy Chief Minister post and he might negotiate for ministries for his MLAs. The major challenge before Palaniswami is to ensure the survival of his government. Also Read - West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee Meets PM Modi, Discusses Covid Situation, Vaccines During Talks
The AIADMK had 134 MLAs in the 232-member Assembly. Even party deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran claims the support of 22 MLAs and the number is enough to bring down the Palaniswami government, which is on the edge.
The resolution passed by the Amma faction led by Palaniswami on Thursday said Sasikala’s appointment as party general secretary was only till the election of a new chief. It said the appointment of TTV Dhinakaran as Sasikala’s deputy was against party by-laws and said that his recent appointments was only to cause confusion in party ranks. The faction, however, has failed to expel the duo.
The merger talks have been going on since April and the Bharatiya Janata Party is also trying to bring both the factions together so that it can have support of almost 50 MPs in Parliament. The merger will also help the BJP to gain some foothold in the southern state where it could not bag any seat in the 2016 Assembly elections.
Even if the merger happens, it will be marriage of convenience and the party does not have a strong leader following J Jayalalithaa’s demise on December 5, 2016. Panneerselvam is adamant on the removal of party chief VK Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dinakaran, which will lead to another round of power struggle. The Panneerselvam camp had said that the Palaniswami faction has not honoured their demands of expelling Sasikala and Dinakaran.
The present situation is also advantageous to the DMK which has strong leaders in M Karunanidhi and MK Stalin. The DMK won 89 seats in the last Assembly elections.