In late-night political drama on Tuesday, around 20 Tamil Nadu cabinet ministers who met at CM E Palaniswami's residence announced that they have decided to keep the Sasikala family away from the government and the party, triggering a second revolt of sorts within the AIADMK, with O Panneerselvam leading the first one in February.
Following this, there are three factions in the AIADMK now, one led by OPS, another by CM E Palaniswami and another ostensibly by the Sasikala clan.
According to the Edappadi Palaniswami faction, the CM has the support of 122 MLAs. But soon after D Jayakumar, now in the EPS faction, made this statement, at least 8 MLAs are known to have visited TTV Dhinakaran to show their support to him.
The 8 MLAs are
Thanga Tamizhchelvan from Andipatti
Jakkaiyan from Kambam
Kathirkamu from Periyakulam
Mohandas from Thenkasi
Vetrivel from Perambur
Subramaniam from Sathur
Chinnathambi R from Attur
Elumalani from Poonamallee
Does TTV Dhinakaran have the numbers to pull down the government - or even pose a credible threat? His camp claims he has around 25 MLAs with him, and since we can confirm only 8, the number could be much lesser in reality.
In the Tamil Nadu Assembly, there are 234 seats. Count out Jayalalithaa, who passed away in December, and the Speaker of the Assembly Dhanapal, and the number of people who would be voting would come down to 232.
Considering DMK Chief Karunanidhi has been unwell for several weeks now, he is unlikely to be present in the Assembly in case of a Trust Vote.
So it all comes down to 231 MLAs - so the halfway mark would stand at 116.
The AIADMK (all factions included) has 132 of these MLAs. Team OPS has 11 of them, including the former Chief Minister Panneerselvam himself.
While Team EPS has claimed the support of 122 MLAs in the party (including the Speaker Dhanapal), if TTV Dhinakaran manages to retain the support of at least 10 MLAs, the Chief Minister - with 111 MLAs who can vote on the floor of the Assembly - will fall at least 5 MLAs short of the halfway mark.
So, unless the desertion of the Sasikala camp is complete - there is little that EPS can do to save his CMâ€™s chair if he does not merge with the Panneerselvam camp.