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In what appears to be peace of sorts brokered by the BJP, leaders of the various AIADMK factions have stopped attacking each other after a meeting between former Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Governor RN Ravi on November 23. But, the meeting could have been aimed at mending fences with the BJP and making it clear that the party led by him is keen on having an alliance with the saffron party in the 2024 Parliament elections.
The ruling DMK is alleging that Palaniswami met with the Governor in order to seek support from the BJP to end the AIADMK’s internal feuds.
Several indications support the possibility of the BJP and AIADMK having come to an understanding. For one, former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, who had filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the election of Palaniswami as interim general secretary, has sought adjournment of the case. Secondly, both Panneerselvam and Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam leader TTV Dhinakaran have stopped criticising Palaniswami, indicating at least a temporary truce.
Former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, who had filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the election of Palaniswami as interim general secretary, has sought adjournment of the case
Moreover, after the meeting, AIADMK leaders who support Palaniswami have also stopped making remarks about contesting alone in the 2024 election. In addition, Palaniswami, who was earlier silent about DMK’s opposition to the Governor, has now expressed support to him and commended his functioning, after the meeting. The principal opposition leader, who did not join BJP’s campaign against the DMK government on the Coimbatore car blast, belatedly echoed the views of Tamil Nadu BJP president K Annamalai and said the blast occurred due to the State government’s intelligence failure.
On the same day, Annamalai, speaking to reporters asserted that the ties between the AIADMK and BJP continue to hold good. However, he added that they could not decide yet on which parties would be admitted to the AIADMK-BJP alliance, as the Lok Sabha elections were 16 months away. “The minor issues need not be settled today itself and the contours of the alliance cannot be decided now,” Annamalai said, hinting that the efforts to bring together the warring AIADMK factions could be taken up at an opportune moment before the polls.
After meeting the Governor, Palaniswami told the media that he had submitted a petition containing allegations against the State government. But, Industries Minister Thangam Thennarasu contended that the meeting was about the differences between the AIADMK factions and that the petition was only a tool to divert the attention of the people.
Higher Education Minister K Ponmudi alleged that the AIADMK leaders were keeping the real reasons behind the meeting under wraps.
The principal opposition leader, who did not join BJP’s campaign against the DMK government on the Coimbatore car blast, belatedly echoed the views of Tamil Nadu BJP president K Annamalai and said the blast occurred due to the State government’s intelligence failure
Palaniswami’s meeting with the Governor comes after the appointment of AIADMK MP M Thambidurai as a member of the advisory committee for the Union Health ministry. Immediately after the appointment, Thambidurai met Palaniswami at his residence. So far, Palaniswami had been insisting that he would not admit Panneerselvam into the party and would not have an alliance with Dhinakaran’s AMMK.
However, the second possibility of Palaniswami seeking an alliance with the BJP is indicated by former minister D Jayakumar’s denial today. He ruled out admitting former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam into the party and having alliance with Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam led by TTV Dhinakaran. His assertion that the general council decision to expel Panneerselvam would not be changed strengthens the impression that the meeting was intended to build bridges with the BJP and not with the other leaders of the party.
If the BJP accepted Palaniswami’s offer for an alliance with his AIADMK, the BJP may not lose much in the Kongu region where Panneerselvam and Dhinakaran do not count as political forces. But, facing elections in the southern districts where the BJP wants to contest in many seats could become tougher as Dhinakaran has a support base which he had proved in the earlier elections. He could get more support if Panneerselvam too had a poll pact with him and former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s close aide VK Sasikala supported them. It is to be seen if BJP goes along with Palaniswami’s alliance offer or continues to persuade Palaniswami to join hands with his rival leaders.
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