By Parth Gupta
The 6-month long harsh period has barely ended for the AIADMK with the historic merger of two factions and resurgence of the ‘two leaves’ symbol, and ruling party seems to be in turmoil again. After the demise of party supremo and state CM J Jayalalitha, Tamil Nadu’s political scenario has witnessed a strange kind of drama.
What happened in 6 months?
The 6-month period saw the conviction of Jayalalitha’s aide and her successor to the party post – V.K Sasikala. The party symbol was “frozen” by the Election Commission (EC). There was a change of two CMs and cancellation of by-poll in RK Nagar seat held by Jayalalitha. The state politics was seen en-route normalcy as the two sides – Edappadi K. Palaniswami and Panneerselvam camp, came together to form a new government.
Opposition against the new government
However, on August 22nd, Sasikala’s nephew, T.T.V Dhinakaran, pulled the plug on the administration, in pursuit to remove the current CM E.K Palaniswami and Deputy CM O Panneerselvam. Dhinakaran said that the two camps had come together for ‘selfish interests’ to oppose Sasikala. At his first meeting with the governor, after 19 MLAs loyal to him expressed lack of confidence in the Chief Minister last month, he accused the government of exerting pressure on his camp to woo the MLA’s back to their fold. These 19 MLA’s were moved to a resort outside Chennai, possibly to avoid defection to the EKP-OPS faction. Dhinakaran also came to clarify that he hadn’t made it compulsory for legislatures to stay at the resort. The number of opposing MLA’s has since grown to 21.
In another attempt to weaken the CM’s faction, Dhinakaran has been substituting several senior leaders, holding official party positions of the Palaniswami camp with his own men. The unified AIADMK declared that Dhinakaran had been removed from the Deputy General Secretary post on August 10th itself and questioned his authority to make changes in the party set up. However, the rebel leader maintained that he was acting under the instructions of his aunt Sasikala, currently lodged in a Bengaluru jail.
Dhinakaran has been claiming that CM Palaniswami has no majority and therefore, the CM should be asked by the governor to prove legislature’s confidence. During his latest meeting, Dhinakaran was informed by the Tamil Nadu Governor C.Vidyasagar Rao that “he is watching everything, and a decision will be taken soon”.
The chorus of a ‘floor test’ in the Assembly is growing even louder. Even the DMK, the Congress and the Left parties met President Ram Nath Kovind in this regard. Hence, they are leaving no stones unturned to nail down the collapse of AIADMK which was once an NDA ally. Having said that, getting a floor test done will be very problematic. During the hearing of a PIL in the Madras High Court, the state Advocate General argued that the revolt by 19 MLAs was a party’s internal matter, leaving no space for Governor’s interference.
In case a floor test happens, the EKP-OPS faction will be in real trouble. The numbers don’t favour the newly formed government. The EPS camp has 104 MLA’s, OPS has 10 MLA’s, while the Dhinakaran faction is supported by at least 20 MLA’s. In an assembly of 234, the majority stands at 117. Even if all the 19 MLA’s who visited the Governor declared that they had no confidence in the CM, withdrew their support, the new government will fail to claim a majority. This will be a definite boost for the Sasikala faction and a major symbolic setback for the NDA.
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