It’s a fast changing political situation in Tamil Nadu, where nothing is the same for two consecutive hours. On Tuesday night, it looked like the AIADMK had split three ways, with Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami, retaining the largest number of MLAs, booting out TTV Dhinakaran and Sasikala from the party.
By early Wednesday morning, it looked like TTV was digging his heels in, and gathering support of a handful of MLAs in order to hold on to his position in the party.
But by 11.40am on Wednesday, things had drastically changed. Dhinakaran came out of his residence to speak to media persons, and he looked like a man who was smarting, but who had clearly accepted defeat.
“I was asked to stay away from party affairs and I will listen to that for the sake of the party. I will not try to prove my strength,” said Dhinakaran, who declared that he was ‘stepping aside’, although he was non committal on whether he would be continuing as the Deputy General Secretary of the party.
"Our leaders want me to keep quiet so I will keep quiet,” declared Dhinakaran. "According to me, I have worked to their (cadre) expectations only. I want to keep quiet now because I don't want any problem in the party," he said.
TTV was also largely non-committal on the merger of the EPS and OPS factions of the party, insisting that questions be asked of the Chief Minister and others.
“The people who have 122 MLAs – if they want to go and merge with the other faction – you should ask them about it,” he said.
"We should be united. Whenever you need me, I will come," he said.
However, he said that the merger should not come with any conditions, as that would make the merger tenuous.
"When they merge, there should not be any condition. Only then it will have longevity."
Reacting to Dhinakaran's stepping aside, former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam said, "This is our first victory. We will prove that this party is for the people. We started a fight to oust Sasikala's family. Now the two sides will talk to each other to take a decision in accordance with the will of the people."