When Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisamy invited all AIADMK MLAs to visit Chennai on Tuesday, it became clear that a major decision was to be taken. Hours after meeting the MLAs, Finance Minister Jayakumar announced the party's decision to oust Sasikala and TTV Dinakaran from the party. The day at sea pretty much sealed the fate of the Mannargudi clan in the AIADMK.
The midsea meeting came a day after ministers announced their willingness to merge both factions of the party. Here is a run up of what led to the ouster of the once revered 'Chinnamma' and her family.
In all 122 MLAs and ministers were onboard the INS Chennai and INS Sumedha on Tuesday. While party leaders including Jayakumar refused to attach any connection with talks of a merger to the MLAs' visit to Chennai, he told the press on Tuesday evening that the decision to oust Sasikala was taken with the consent of all AIADMK MLAs. This even as some MLAs denied extending support to the merger plans and pledging support to Dinakaran.
Following the meeting with the MLAs, members of the Edappadi Palanisamy camp spoke to the media reiterating their willingness to hold discussions on a merger. Panneerselvam, however, put forth pre-conditions for the talks. His primary condition was the ouster of Sasikala Natarajan and TTV Dinakaran from the party. While some leaders of the AIADMK Amma camp expressed displeasure over Panneerselvam's demands, others maintained that he had made no such demands to hold talks.
The divide within the AIADMK Amma faction became clear with MLAs like Vetrivel rallying behind Sasikala and Dinakaran while senior leaders like Thambidurai categorically maintained distance from making statements of the duo.
A meeting was held on Tuesday evening with senior Tamil Nadu ministers being in attendance. Post this meeting, Finance Minister Jayakumar announced the party's decision to keep Sasikala away and begin talks of a merger with O Pannerselvam camp.
Jayakumar added that the decision was "unanimous" and that it was based on views of all ministers, including the chief minister, MLAs, MPs, and more importantly the people of Tamil Nadu. It may be recalled that a similar meeting was held at Minister Tangmani's residence on Monday evening where the decision to merge both factions was taken. 26 ministers meet at Electricity Minister Thangamani's official residence on Greenways Road in Chennai on Monday.
Two days of politicking and weeks of talks between both factions at various levels resulted in the ouster of Sasikala Natarajan and TTV Dinakaran from the AIADMK on Tuesday. While some may hope that it is curtains down on the political drama in Tamil Nadu, 11 AIADMK MLAs pledging support to Dinakaran may emerge as a new challenge to the party.