BJP works to bring warring AIADMK factions together

DMK actually may emerge as a gainer in this game of chess

PTI Photo
PTI Photo

Bhasha Singh

When Venkaiah Naidu was getting ready to become the Vice-President of India on Thursday, he was also busy discussing the power equation in the state of Tamil Nadu with the warring factions within AIADMK. If the two factions of AIADMK in Tamil Nadu have agreed on a common ground and if the process of isolating the once-powerful Sasikala is now complete, then the credit for all this goes to the Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu.

In a hurriedly organised press conference,on Thursday, the jailed general secretary Sasikala’s brother Divakaran reiterated his support for TTV Dhinakaran (deputy general secretary of AIADMK). The talks of merger between the two factions were hastened and in a clinical way, typical of the BJP modus operandi, leaders of both factions - Chief Minister EPalaniswami (EPS) and O Panneerselvam (OPS) - met Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday.

The merger may have a long-lasting impact on the politics of the state and experts believe that it was long expected.

This is how the present stage for the rapprochement was set and how it may affect Tamil Nadu politics:

  • Jayalaitha, leader of AIADMK was the chief minister of the state till December last year until she died.
  • After her death, OPS who had earlier replaced her was again made the CM. But later on, Sasikala, Jayalaitha’s close aide and companion, asked him to step down and she herself became the CM.
  • Soon after she was convicted by the Supreme Court of corruption and sentenced to four years in prison. She then made EPS the chief minister and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran the party’s deputy general secretary.
  • Thus, EPS and OPS fell out. OPS was upset over these developments and asked for an investigation into the manner of Jayalalitha’s death. He also wanted Sasikala to be expelled from the party.
  • Now, BJP came into the picture. BJP has always supported AIADMK on its policies and AIADMK is considered friendly to the Centre. So, it was natural that BJP would try to reconcile the differences between both the factions. On Thursday, it became clear that AIADMK leaders were willing to reconcile with the BJP acting as the mediator. And in the meeting, EPS and senior ministers almost agreed to the investigation into Jayalalitha’s death.
  • The merger of both factions would mean an easy solution to the fight over the rights to party’s name and symbol as well.
  • Now the only issue to be sorted is who will be the Chief Minister. Venkaiah Naidu was reportedly in favour of making Panneerselvam the Chief Minister again. But the possibility of Palaniswami becoming the CM is stronger since, as an AIADMK MP told NH. Palaniswami has apparently convinced both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah that he would balance the delicate equation between the factions by giving ministerial posts to members of the opposite faction. And this subsequently will silence the voice of rebels in the party.
  • The most prominent rebel voice is that of Dhinakaran and his supporters. Before merger, the BJP wants a clearer picture as to how many legislators are joining it.
  • The BJP was already unhappy with Dhinakaran and was making every effort to isolate Sasikala. Even now, all the efforts are being invested in sidelining Sasikala and Dhinakaran.

This merger of the two factions of AIADMK would clearly mean a victory for the BJP’s agenda and some advocates of Dravidian politics are also worried that with this:

  • There will be an end to the hold of Dravidian politics in the state.
  • Because of Dravidian politics, many national parties have not been able to gain any influence in Tamil Nadu. But now this may change.
  • Tamil Nadu has been the centre of the protest against dominance of Hindi. All the parties including the BJP and the Congress had to tie up with either DMK or AIADMK to become relevant in the state. Even now, the BJP is working through AIADMK, though now the BJP is dominating the game.
  • In the long run BJP wants to increase the influence of Hindutva in the region by sharpening their cultural campaign. The BJP leader in Tamil Nadu H Raja has already initiated the process.
  • Caste confict is already on the rise in the state. It will further intensify.
  • DMK and its leader Stalin may gain more importance now because he is seen as the only champion of the Dravidian cause.

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Published: 11 Aug 2017, 7:48 PM