Focus shifts to backroom channels

Unity move said to have the blessings of BJP, which is keen on expansion in State

Updated - August 11, 2017 10:11 am IST

Published - August 11, 2017 12:33 am IST - CHENNAI

Tamilisai Soundararajan

Tamilisai Soundararajan

With T.T.V. Dhinakaran emerging as a force to reckon with within the ruling AIADMK (Amma), backroom channels have been opened to make the rebel leader O. Panneerselvam and Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami see the need for a compromise to win back the party’s frozen name and the ‘Two Leaves’ symbol.

It is reliably learnt that the State-wide tour that Mr. Dhinakaran declared to undertake to strengthen the party and appointments made by him last week infused a sense of urgency to efforts that were under way to unify the AIADMK (Amma) and AIADMK (PTA).

The moves to unify the AIADMK have the blessings of the BJP, which is keen on gaining a political hold in the State with the help of the regional party. However, Tamilisai Soundararajan, BJP’s State unit president, said it [the party] was not exerting any pressure on both the factions to come together.

“It is an internal matter of another party,” Dr. Soundararajan said.

“Till such time the Election Commission takes a call on the claims made over the party name and symbol, neither of the two factions will be ready to face the local body elections. A decision on the nomination of V.K. Sasikala as the AIADMK general secretary is also pending with the EC. In a bid to overcome these issues and to counter the onslaught of Mr. Dhinakaran, the two factions have no other choice but to come together,” a source, close to BJP circles, who is playing a key role in facilitating attempts for the merger, told The Hindu on Thursday.

‘Workers confused’

The source said the pressure was working on both the EPS and OPS factions. The merger would be the only way to restore confidence of the cadre.

With one rejecting the other , there is utter confusion among the party workers. Though the coming together might instil confidence, problems will remain. Allegations of corruption have to be inquired into…a mechanism to ensure transparency and efficiency in governance has to be put in place,” he said.

Parrying questions on whether the BJP was engineering the merger, he said the “give and take” has to happen for survival. “ The 45-minute silence of Mr. Panneerselvam (at former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s memorial) dispelled the myth that Sasikala alone can keep the party together…he exposed her hollowness in the system. Had Mr. Palaniswami not distanced himself from the Mannargudi family, the AIADMK rule would not exist today. As far as that family is concerned, both the leaders are on the same side,” he said.

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