Politics in Tamil Nadu is turning more and more bizarre after the demise of AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalithaa. The three factions that had emerged—one led by Palanisamy, another by O. Panneerselvam and a third by TTV Dhinakaran propped up by V.K. Sasikala—have now been reduced to two with the merger of the first two. All concentration of the ruling faction (with Chief Minister Palanisamy in the driver’s seat) is to oust the Sasikala-Dhinakaran duo and it was with that purpose that the ruling faction called the AIADMK general council meeting on Tuesday.
With the Election Commission still to give its verdict in the symbol allotment case, the ruling faction has come up with an interesting way to deny the position of general secretary to Sasikala and deputy general secretary to her protégé Dhinakaran. The general council has decided to make the late Jayalalithaa the “eternal” general secretary. The motivation is that nobody else can ever be general secretary and if there is no general secretary, a deputy general secretary is automatically ruled out. The whole thing is farcical and absurd but so has AIADMK politics been since the demise of Jayalalithaa.
The enlarged Palanisamy faction is now expected to approach the Election Commission with the plea that the party symbol be allotted to their now-merged faction on the ground that they had just organised a meeting of the general council. In the meanwhile, they will continue to try and wean away the 19 legislators who are with Dhinakaran. With the dominant group controlling the levers of power both in the party and the government, efforts would be stepped up to wean away the 19 legislators who are with Dhinakaran .
A lot would depend on what stand the Election Commission takes in the matter, keeping the rule book in mind. It is indeed regrettable that the commission has taken so long to give its verdict in the case but it must decide quickly to end the uncertainty in the State which is playing havoc with its governance. The Sasikala-Dhinakaran faction is also not the type that would let matters rest for long without a counter-move. Its next move would be watched with deep interest.