India: AIADMK unification ruled out: Pannerselvam and Palanisamy factions to mobilize party people in support of their claims

By Abdul Ruff

Clearly, Sasikala-Dinakaran-Palanisamy trio having shabbily failed to woo the popular AIADMK faction led by former CM and the most trusted lieutenant O. Panneer Selvam have decided to fight that faction in the forth coming local polls to showcase it popularity, if any.

This explains the readiness of the opposition party DMK to gear up the party for the local polls.
Clearly, the Palanisamy faction still worships their ‘goddess” chinnamma, the jailed Sasikala undergoing a jail term for her involvement in looting the resources of Tamil people by staying at Poe’s garden bungalow of former CM Jayalalithaa. She still occupies the Popes garden Bungalow and Jayalithaa’s all assets, including bank balance.

Meanwhile, OPS has launched a state tour to ascertain the mindset of people and AIADMK party workers towards the ruling party’s problems, while CM EPS has begun celebration of Jayalalithaa birth day in Madurai. Though the ruling Amma AIADMK claims huge crowds attending the function s of CM Palanisamy critics say AIADMK government, ruling party mobilizes their own people and spend huge resources from the government, party and Sasikala’s illegally obtained wealth and Jayalithaa’s money. That is show of ruling party’s wealth.

Sasikala remote controls  AIADMK and government

Sasikala still control the party and government through remote means.

Sasikala now controls the AAIDMK party, TN government, assets of Jayalalithaa, etc, – all by being inside the prison cell in Bangalore. She is also hatching plans to somehow fool the judiciary and   escape from jail legally. The dramatic twists and turns that began soon after Jayalalithaa’s death in December last year have continued four months on. Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dinakaran seemed to effortlessly take over the party by installing themselves as General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary even as few of the leaders led by O. Paneerselvam revolted. A floor test ensued in the Assembly and the Sasikala faction retained power even as she was lodged in jail following her conviction in the disproportionate assets case. Edappadi Palanisamy took reign as Chief Minister and the battle shifted to R.K Nagar. The high stakes meant more corruption that usual and the election commission cancelled the polls reprimanding parties for the large-scale bribing of voters. On 7th April, The IT department raided Health Minister Vijaya Bhaskar’s residence to uncover the large-scale bribery being plotted. The Times of India reported that several ministers had been roped in to influence 2.24 lakh voters in the constituency to ensure TTV Dinakaran’s victory.

Has Sasikala, self proclaimed Chinnamma, really wanted to make the party rule go on smoothly, she would not have done what she did by sacking Jayalalithaa’s most trusted OPS. She would have encouraged him to rule better so that Jayalalithaa rule and legacy live forever. But no, she wanted to take revenge on Jayalalithaa and OPS.

Tamils are fooled and betrayed by the Chinnamma & Co by their anti-party, anti-MGR-Jayalalithaa actions soon after the sudden demise of CM Jayalalithaa under mysterious circumstances. Now the ruling party refuses any investigation into the death of former AIADNMK supremo, as they even argue she did die normally and “as per rules” and as such there is no need for any CBI inquiry.

Demands and state tour

The OPS camp has put forth two demands which it says must be fulfilled for talks to commence. The first is the ouster of AIADMK chief Sasikala Natarajan and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran from the party. The second is a CBI enquiry into late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s death. A Panneerselvam camp leader also claimed that some members from the Palanisamy faction would join them soon. The EPS faction agreed to oblige OPS demands but they are not sincere… Their aim to get OPS faction into the Sasikala faction by offering ministerial berths to a couple of the OPS MLAs.

The Panneerselvam faction of AIADMK on Sunday set Tuesday as the deadline for talks with the ruling E Palanisamy camp of the party. It also announced that the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister would undertake a statewide tour soon. Mettur MLA S Semmalai, who had organised a meeting of party cadre last week, was quoted in a report as saying that, “He (Panneerselvam) will commence the tour from Kancheepuram.” A senior member from the committee formed by the Panneerselvam camp for talks reportedly added that, “whichever way the talks go, we expect to arrive at a clear picture. In fact, our deadline is Tuesday”. He also claimed that there is a possibility of some members of the Palanisamy camp coming over to the Panneerselvam side in the next few days.  At Semmalai’s meeting last week, some party cadre reportedly expressed disapproval of talks with the Palanisamy camp. Panneerselvam will embark on the tour from May 5 to increase his support, and also to prepare the faction for local body polls, said a report.

Former chief minister of Tamil Nadu O Panneerselvam kickstarted his statewide campaign on Friday, the May 05.  With AIADMK merger talks in limbo, both factions are fast losing interest. Panneerselvam has launched his month-long statewide tour ahead of the local body polls.
Massive crowds gathered at Kanchipuram where O Panneerselvam was set to address his first public meet. The AIADMK PTA faction promoted his statewide tour as a movement to gather support. The tour is a show of strength by the Panneerslvam camp. It is aimed at proving a point to the Edappadi Palanisamy camp which has been claiming to have the support of the cadres.

Massive crowds gathered at Kanchipuram where O Panneerselvam was set to address his first public meet. The AIADMK PTA faction promoted his statewide tour as a movement to gather support. The tour is a show of strength by the Panneerslvam camp. It is aimed at proving a point to the Edappadi Palanisamy camp which has been claiming to have the support of the cadres.

O Panneerselvam is on Tamil Nadu tour to hear out cadres Is it end of the road for AIADMK merger. Sources reveal that team Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) have lost interest in merger. Some leaders in EPS camp think that O Panneerselvam (OPS) camp was given enough time to mull merger and EPS camp may continue with government. With rival AIADMK faction showing no signs of relenting to his faction’s demands on commencing the reunion talks. Former Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam is all set to embark on a state-wide tour from today in Kanchipuram district

Sasikala and supporters have achieved what DMK and BJP could not for years- forcing the people to take the ruling AIADMK a non-serious political party that believes in whims and fancies. Tamils are fooled and betrayed.

Sasikala drama

The Palanisamy dispensation enacted a drama of ousting their leader Sasikala and Dinakaran from AIADMK. But shockingly, Sasikala did not say anything about their ouster from the party. Nor did she oust the Palanisamy government and remove them from the party. That is the usual practice in party politics in India. This gives rise to suspicion that entire ouster story was stage managed to get Pannerselvam on board to get the party symbol from the Election Commission. And make him irrelevant to the party and state.

Party leader Sengottaiyan initially said that a committee had been formed to negotiate with OPS faction but remained non-committal on the Sasikala family’s role in the party.
Finance Minister Jayakumar said that they had to take into consideration the views of thousands of party members and functionaries who wanted the family out, in effect meeting OPS’s demands, signaling that they were ready for talks.

EPS even ordered to remove the banners of Sasikala from the party HQ in Chennai, giving the impression that they hate Sasikala. That was just a trick to  trap OPS faction. Now it is clear the leaders who ousted Sasikala from AIADMK are not sincere to their decision and they still work for jailed Sasikala to end political life of Pannerselvam. While the finance minister Jayakumar says he iis wiling to give up his ministry in favor of Pannerselvam, CM Palanisamy is silent about all the possibilities of government change in the state.

Apparently, the Sasikala plan is to accommodate Pannerselvam and a couple of his supporting MLAs in the Palanisamy government and gradually side him after ensuring the support of his supporting MLAs for Sasikala.

Obviously, neither Sasikala nor CM EPS faction does not want OPS to be the CM of Tamil Nadu again. Their argument perhaps is that after Jayalalithaa’s death, Panneerselvam has no role in the government. This OPS faction calls a dirty drama to fool them and people at large.

Votes and party symbol for dirty money

Graphic details of the money trail were printed on a special letter pad with ‘R K Nagar assembly constituency by-election 2017: Candidate T T V Dhinakaran’ printed on top. In the first column on the letter pad, the key election managers’ names are printed. The second column shows the number of areas the constituency has been divided into, for electioneering. The third column has the total voters in each region and the fourth one shows the targeted electorate for bribing. The amount disbursed is mentioned in the last column, but curiously enough, there is no mention that the figures refer to money. Divide the total amount by the targeted electorate, and you get the per voter amount of Rs4,000.

Following this came the news that TTV Dinakaran had engaged a well-known con man Sukash Chandrasekaran to bribe EC officials to get his faction the two leaves symbol which was frozen just before the RK Nagar polls. The Delhi Police arrested Chandrasekaran after a tip off by an informer. The 27 year old has several cases against him in the Enforcement Directorate, CBI and Chennai and Bangalore police. He has duped more than 100 people of crores of rupees by posing as important figures in government, and has 15 FIRs lodged against him. Quoting the Delhi Police, the Indian Express reported – It has been learnt that the conman had struck a deal for Rs 50 crore for helping the AIADMK (Amma) faction to keep the ‘two leaves’ symbol, said an officer privy to the probe. Till now, he had got Rs 10 crore of the deal amount and the remaining was to be given to him in a time-bound manner. Yesterday, police recovered Rs 1.30 crore in cash and two luxury cars–a BMW and a Mercedes–from him. Dinakaran, who said he did know of such a person, was served with summons on Wednesday and was grilled for several hours over the weekend. As the public perception of TTV Dinakaran worsened, a few ministers in his faction have virtually side-lined him and are attempting to unite with the rival OPS faction to regain the two leaves symbol.

In response to these developments, TTV Dinakaran, in the midst of various court hearings, said that these ministers within their faction are in fear of something due to which they want to keep him and his family away from party affairs. He said that he will stay away from the affairs of the party without being clear on whether he and his aunt would resign their posts.

However, several days of negotiation have not yielded results as power sharing between the two factions is becoming tricky. OPS camp wants posts of the general secretary, chief minister and the party presidium for members of their faction. The EPS faction is unwilling to let go of the Chief Ministerial post and is instead offering OPS the post of the party general secretary.

However, this is not easy. The Times of India reported that the bylaws framed by MGR a senior amma AIADMK leader said in case of a compromise between the warring factions, the CM post is more certain. But the party general secretary (GS) post, going by the AIADMK bylaw, is a long shot. The person has to be elected by the 1.5 crore cadres; and not by the functionaries. If there is more than one contestant, we will have to go through a process akin to the general election. No one can select a GS.

Even if TTV will not form a third faction in AIADMK, the state Govt will fall if OPS-EPS factions fight for Chief Minister’s post.

As this fight for power plays out, there is much being said about BJP’s role in the conflict. While neither of the factions has directly named them, it is believed that the OPS faction has the support of the BJP and it is in fact the BJP that is orchestrating the reunification through Deputy Speaker Thambidurai. Coomi Kapoor writes in the Indian Express – There was very real apprehension that the Central government may impose President’s rule in the state, something every MLA wanted to avoid at all cost. The Paneerselvam camp, with far fewer MLAs, was requested to rejoin the Sasikala group, on the understanding that Sasikala and her family members would be shown the door.

The BJP which won a few seats in the assembly and parliament thanks to DMK and AIADMK, has always viewed the troubled AIADMK as a possible ally to make its presence stronger in Tamil Nadu. BJP cannot get DMK as it has a strong alliance with Congress party. BJP is eager to reap all benefits out of the rift. The death of Jayalalithaa has left a void which they are seeking to leverage on. OPS and EPS are not in any hurry to unite. The BJP is still waiting for a clear picture to choose the faction.  From the BJP’s point of view, a united AIADMK without the Sasikala family would be an ideal ally because it can set its own terms to them. Besides getting the much-needed votes in the upcoming presidential elections, the BJP would still look forward to contesting upwards of ten seats as part of seat-sharing in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and winning most of them and improving its 2014 tally of just one seat.


With the split in the party and As the Mannargudi mafia has dramatically been shunned out of the AIADMK without any serious intent people are confused and so the future of the party and the fate of politics in Tamil Nadu remains uncertain. The ruling faction refuses to undertake and complete the “ouster” operation of keeping the party free from Sasikala and her control mechanism.

Sasikala knows without OPS the party cannot survive and the government would disappear sooner than later. Many Sasikala supporters say they would welcome the OPS supporter to rejoin to strengthen the party. Because of her foolish actions, now the Jayalalithaa’s government party is under serious threat of extinction.

The Pannerselvam faction is suspicious about the move of Sasikala faction. In order ally suspicion form the minds of them the Palanisamy team must allay all fears with an action that officially keeps Sasikala and family and their clan out of AIADMK and government. CM Palanisamy Those MLAs who are badly spoiled by Sasikala change their anger and hatred towards former CM OPS and think seriously about genuine unity of the party.

Political commentators see OPS and EPS factional rivalry being a repetition of Jayalithaa-Janaki factions after the demise of the AIADMK founder MGR. and say OPS would win the fight just like Jayalithaa had emerged victorious forcing Janaki quit politics.

Panneerselvam is not the popular leader as people see him the true follower of MGR-Jayalalithaa. But apparently Sasikala-EPS faction would prefer the DMK to come power rather than letting OPS become CM of Tamil Nadu

Only time will reveal what people want.

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Abdul Ruff

Dr. Abdul Ruff is an independent analyst; columnist contributing articles to many newspapers and journals on world politics; expert on Mideast affairs, chronicler of foreign occupations & freedom movements (Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Xinjiang, Chechnya, etc.); Chancellor-Founder of Center for International Affairs (CIA); commentator on world affairs & sport fixings, former university teacher and author of eBooks/books

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