Politics is indeed a game of strange bedfellows. The V. K. Sasikala and O. Panneerselvam factions of the AIADMK which were at daggers drawn only a while ago are now seriously contemplating a merger after purportedly proposing to jettison V. K. Sasikala, the controversial jailed aide of the late J. Jayalalithaa and Sasikala’s favourite nephew T.T.V. Dinakaran who is in all sorts of trouble with the CBI.
The deal, if it finally comes about despite the propensity for machinations of the Sasikala-Dinakaran duo would catapult O. Panneerselvam to the possible post of Finance Minister, which he held under Jayalalithaa, and compensate him also with a senior party position, perhaps general secretary. The Panneerselvam faction, in return would accept Palanisami as chief minister, and bury the hatchet. The big losers would be Sasikala and Dinakaran who have been at cross purposes with the Centre, especially with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Significantly, the drama unfolded soon after the Delhi police filed an FIR against AIADMK deputy general secretary Dinakaran for attempting to bribe officials of the Election Commission in order to be allotted the two-leaves symbol. Recently, when Sasikala’s aide and health minister C. Vijayabaskar’s house was raided by income-tax officials who allegedly found stacks of currency at his residence which was purportedly meant for distribution to potential voters in a byelection which Dinakaran was to contest, many in the Palanisami cabinet were rattled and petrified by the consequence of associating with Sasikala. That is when there was fresh thinking on jettisoning the Sasikala-Dinakaran duo and if required, sacking C. Vijayabaskar as a minister. If things go according to plan, the deal between the Palanisami and Panneerselvam factions would be stitched and the AIADMK would emerge as a stronger entity, warding off any future DMK challenge in the bargain.