Dhinakaran factor stands in way of OPS-EPS rapprochement

R Balaji Chennai | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on June 09, 2017

Edappadi K Palaniswami Tamil Nadu Chief Minister   -  B_JOTHI RAMALINGAM

O Panneerselvam AIADMK leader , former CM   -  B_JOTHI RAMALINGAM

Rival AIADMK factions led by former Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam, and incumbent CM Edappadi K Palaniswami are close to burying the hatchet, reliable sources have told BusinessLine.

Palaniswami’s camp had even considered impleading itself in the OPS camp’s petition to the Election Commission which wanted Sasikala’s election as party General Secretary nullified. This would have paved way for a reunion of the two factions.

However, the reaction to such a move by the third faction, led by TTV Dhinakaran, is being watched closely, given that over 30 MLAs have come out in support the AIADMK Deputy General Secretary. This could have a bearing on the stability of the Palaniswami government, which has a wafer-thin majority in the Assembly.

Dhinakaran, the nephew of party General Secretary VK Sasikala, is currently out on bail in connection with a bribery case. Sasikala herself is serving a four-year sentence in a corruption case.

The group led by Panneerselvam (who is also known as OPS) is backed by a dozen MLAs, and its main demand is that Sasikala and Dhinakaran be removed from the AIADMK.

In Assembly elections last year, the AIADMK, led by its late party chief J Jayalalithaa, retained power, securing 134 seats in the 234-member House. But the death of Jayalalithaa in December led to a power struggle.

Panneerselvam, who was Chief Minister when Jayalalithaa’s died last December, had to step down when Sasikala, a close confidante of the former party chief, took over as General Secretary and made a bid to become Chief Minister. But she was convicted in a corruption case and jailed.

She brought in Dhinakaran as Deputy General Secretary and Palaniswami took over as Chief Minister.

In February, Palaniswami proved his majority with the backing of 122 members in the Assembly. But the subsequent development of a group owing allegiance to Dhinakaran has led to three factions within the ruling party.

‘Govt stable’

According to a senior member in the Panneerselvam faction, the government’s stability is not in question now. None of the factions in the AIADMK — or even main Opposition DMK — is ready to face an election now. Therefore, the government, which still has four years to complete its term, is stable, he asserted.

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Published on June 09, 2017
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