In a late night political drama that unfolded in Tamil Nadu on Monday, it became clear that the two factions of the AIADMK were headed towards a merger. While both factions have put down their demands on the table, the process of dialogue has been initiated. Sources said that one of the conditions of the AIADMK Amma camp led by Chief mister Edappadi Palanisamy was Sasikala and Dinakaran's resignation. No, not O Panneerselvam but the supposed 'loyalists' are the ones demanding Sasikala Natarajan's resignation now.
According to sources privy to the huddle on Monday night, Panneerselvam camp wants Sasikala removed from the post of General secretary and for the post of deputy general secretary to be declared null and void. Panneerselvam should, they demand, be made the party's chief. In turn, they would not seek the Chief Minister's post. In a bid to save his post, Edapaddi Palanisamym who initiated the talks between the two factions, has demanded that both Sasikala Natarajan and TTV Dinakaran resign from their posts and not interfere in any party affair.
The AIADMK Amma camp believes that the party would not have split had Sasikala and her family not interfered in the party matters. They have started blaming Sasikala for trying to overreach and worsening the situation. The money flow to bribe voters during the R K Nagar bypoll campaigning, FIR against TTV Dinakaran has come as a major embarrassment to the senior leaders who are holding the Mannargudi family responsible for the dent in the image.
When Sasikala Natarajan made Edappadi Palanisamy the Chief Minister before she entered prison, she hoped that she could continue to be the master puppeteer, running the government from Bengaluru central jail. The situation now has gone out of hand and Sasikala, according to reports, is on the verge of pulling back completely from party affairs. Realising that there is very little she could do while being in jail, she had appointed Dinakaran as the deputy general secretary to be her eyes and ears in the party. With Dinakaran facing arrest in a bribery case, uncertainty haunts the Mannarudi family.
The meeting of all MLAs called by the Chief Minister on Tuesday is a way for the party to keep count of how many MLAs are on Sasikala's side and how many will extend support to the merger. If the merger gets the magic number, an announcement to this effect is expected to be made before end of day on Tuesday.