AIADMK politics: TN CM Palaniswami gets support of 111 MLAs
TN's opposition has been asking the AIADMK government to prove its majority. TTV Dhinakaran, Sasikala's nephew and head of AIADMK's another faction, has been claiming that he has sleeper MLAs within the party who will back him. Amid this scenario, 111 MLAs attending the legislators' meet might be a boost for CM Palaniswami, whose earlier meeting on August 28 had less attendance.
How did the events unfold?
In December 2016, after Jayalalithaa's demise, CM O Panneerselvam (OPS) revolted against Jayalalithaa's confidante Sasikala. This was after he resigned as CM, paving the way for Sasikala to become CM. He led the OPS faction. In February, after Sasikala was jailed in the disproportionate assets case, she made E Palaniswamy (EPS) the CM and TTV Dhinakaran, AIADMK's general secretary.
What then led to TTV Dhinakaran's removal from the party?
The Election Commission (EC) froze the two leaves symbol after both OPS and EPS put claims on it. Dhinakaran faced bribery allegations for influencing the EC in giving him the symbol. This is when EPS approached OPS for a merger. OPS demanded the expulsion of Dhinakaran and Sasikala from the party. Expulsion of Dhinakaran led to the OPS-EPS merger on August 11.
Is history repeating itself?
This factionalism is not uncommon to AIADMK. In 1987, after AIADMK patriarch and then CM Ramachandran died, the party was divided into two factions: wife Janaki's faction and Jayalalithaa's faction. But, in the 1989 elections, Jayalalithaa emerged as the winner and AIADMK found its leader.
Is Dhinakaran benefiting from BJP's involvement in this issue?
Before the OPS-EPS merger, BJP was continuously supporting this move. It was assumed that the BJP had orchestrated this merger. Dhinakaran seems to be benefiting from this kind of talk as after the merger, his numbers have grown. He claims to have as many as 20-21 MLAs supporting him. Presently, AIADMK and TN politics remains in a flux.