The merger talks between two factions of the AIADMK have been on for several weeks now, and leaders from both O Panneerselvam and Edappadi Palanisamy camp have made multiple trips to New Delhi. But the talks seem to have stalled over one point: EPS's reluctance to disown Sasikala openly.
"If EPS and other cabinet ministers can distance themselves from TTV Dhinakaran, why can't they do the same with Sasikala? Till they do that, we cannot think of a merger. OPS's struggle started with his rebellion against Sasikala, how can we now expect him to work with her?" a leader close to OPS asked, speaking to TNM.
Till last week, the merger talks had also reached an impasse on the question of who will be the Chief Minister. But after meeting the Prime Minister and others, the OPS camp's stand seems to have changed significantly. Instead of demanding the CM's chair for OPS, they now hint at a compromise. "If EPS is ready to disown Sasikala publicly, we too can make a sacrifice for the greater good of the party. CM or deputy CM are not posts we want to grab, and these are things we can compromise on," the leader said.
While the two camps are busy with their internal discussions, the Deputy General secretary of AIADMK (Amma), TTV Dhinakaran has been making himself a force to reckon with. At the Melur meeting held recently, Dhinakaran had 20 MLAs on stage with him. If the 20 MLAs continue to remain on his side, Dhinakaran has the numbers to bring down the government.
â€śSome ministers like Sreenivasan were handpicked by Sasikala to be treasurer of the party and he also fell at her feet. It is only based on the power given by Sasikala he is functioning now. Let him resign from the post and then talk. He was not to be found in the last 10 years,â€ť Dhinakaran told the media on Wednesday.
If the merger between the EPS and OPS camps does not take place, there is a considerable possibility that the government may fall, depending on the numbers that Dhinakaran can sustain. But with the general consensus that fresh elections may help the DMK more than any other party or faction, it is uncertain if any of the three AIADMK factions will want to go ahead with it.
"Journalists are thinking like people sitting in a studio. Think like us or TTV. We are saying that if EPS insists on Sasikala, let government fall, we won't help. TTV Dhinakaran is thinking that these are people his aunt chose, and they backstabbed him. He would want to bring down the government. And his anger must be so intense that he won't care even if someone like DMK's MK Stalin becomes next CM, he just doesn't want EPS," the leader from OPS camp said.