Even as the ruling AIADMK government has set in motion plans to get four MLAs including Karunas to be disqualified to try and create an artificial majority in the Assembly, the party is rocked by speculation of a patch-up with rebel leader T T V Dhinakaran and reported meetings with Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam.
Dhinakaran has confirmed that OPS met him in July 2017 wherein OPS, according to Dhinakaran, regretted his statements against Dhinakaran and the Sasikala family, and sought his help to oust chief minister Edappadi Palaniswamy.
Although Dhinakaran had then asked OPS to get back to him after discussions with others, there was no follow-up from the Deputy CM, he said, adding that on the contrary OPS played a double game by continuing to attack him and members of his family.
Dhinakaran has also come out with a sensational disclosure that OPS had made another approach to him last week through a common friend through whom the 2017 meeting took place.
Although sources close to Dhinakaran said he did not trust OPS, an AIADMK MLA, Kanagaraj, has welcomed the patch-up moves and said it would be in the interest of the party and the government if OPS managed to convince Dhinakaran to accept the unity call.
In a significant statement, Kanagaraj has disclosed that many other MLAs also wanted unity efforts to gain ground, and said there was nothing wrong in OPS meeting Dhinakaran in this connection.
Inmathi.com had recently published a series of reports on the various scenarios that could take place in the wake of the judgment in the 18 MLAs disqualification case, hinting that there could be a carrot-cum-stick approach. Every effort would be made to lure these 18 MLAs or at least seven of them to the Edappadi side, even while the threat of a fresh round of disqualification steps would be used to threaten the Dhinakaran group MLAs. The judgment is expected shortly and would trigger a series of political developments.
Sources close to Dhinakaran hint that an attempt is also being made to sideline chief minister Edappadi Palaniswamy, and that the name of OPS could be circulated by MLAs close to him as a consensus candidate.
The chief minister himself would be meeting the TN Governor tonight and the PM in Delhi on October 6. Although this is touted as a routine, official exercise, AIADMK sources believe that the CM would seek the assistance of the Centre and the governor in putting down dissidence and ensuring continuance of his government.
As part of this effort, the Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal is being asked to disqualify Karunas, and three MLAs supporting his tirade against the CM-A Prabhu (Kallakurichi), E Rathinasabapathy (Aranthangi) and VT Kalaiselvan (Vriddhachalam).
The CM has to ensure that courts would not intervene with any disqualification order of the Speaker. On October 8, CM, Dy CM, senior ministers, Advocate-General Vijay Narayanan, and Assembly Secretary K Srinivasan were among those who met the Speaker.
AIADMK sources said the file, based on a complaint from AIADMK Whip S Rajendran, is said to be ready for action. Notices are likely to be sent out to these MLAs to show cause why they should not be disqualified. The stick would be out, while the carrot was also being dangled. Will Dhinakaran take the bait, is the question.