Is BJP ditching Panneerselvam?
By Special Correspondent
The merger euphoria in AIADMK is dying slowly with the latest developments in which EPS group seems to stand firm in not accepting O panneerselvam as Chief Minister. After hectic consultations, KP Munusamy the leader from OPS camp and Finance Minister Jayakumar from the EPS group started trading charges against each other which confused the partymen and also the entire TN.
Panneerselavam group laid out three conditions, the first one withdrawal of the affidavit filed by the Sasikala faction saying that Sasikala is the Gen Secretary and Dinakaran is Deputy Gen Sec , the second one getting official resignation letters from both Sasikala and Dinakaran and releasing an announcement in the same manner Jayalalithaa used to do asking all the party cadres and functionaries not to contact or have any deals with them.
The final one was the state govt should ask the Central govt to initiate a CBI inquiry into the circumstances that led to Jayalalithaa's death. They also said that Sasikala's role in the party has not been made clear and this lead to suspicion that there is a secret understanding between Sasikala and Diwakaran(brother of Sasikala) to oust Dinakaran who became more dictatorial and wanted to capture the CM seat.
But the EPS group which still enjoys the majority of the MLAs support did not budge and kept on saying that they welcome OPS camp without preconditions. The OPS camp having felt that they don't have the upper hand in the merger formula are now shifting the focus to the popularity of its leader O Panneerselvamand claims that he only enjoys support among the cadres and people of TN and goes further to say that he can only fill the void in the political space after the death of Jayalalithaa and incapacitation of Karunanidhi. They are confIdent that in the event of the election it is only OPS who can drive the party to victory post.
The EPS group it seems is willing to dole out Finance to OPS and may allot ministries to 2 more MLAs from the OPS camp. This was not expected and the rude shock paved way for further conditions to the merger. But party sources indicate expect one or two, all other MLAs are eager to switch over to EPS camp. It is almost certain that EPS enjoys 130 MLAs support and that is why they are are showing tough stance to OPS.
But many still believe that OPS with the support of central govt will turn the tables. BJP, on the other hand, is not averse to keep its hold whichever camp enjoys majority and with the raids and other cases, EPS camp has succumbed to the pressures and has turned out to be a puppet in BJP hands and Dinakaran camp says that all these were facilitated by a neighboring state governor.
Moreover, the Kongu belt has got into power for the first time and they are not ready to lose it and will go any extent to save their fort. The OPS camp is very furious with the attitude of the rival faction and they still feel that with elections, strength .they will be able to strength. With the President election round the corner, BJP wants to keep the grip over the state MLAs and we can expect more twists and turns after the persidential election. It is quite evident that without a popular mass leader , no party can win the mandate of the people.