Why DMK is unlikely to wait and watch anymore when AIADMK government is to fall anytime

Except for a statement of its leader M K Stalin that they will move a no-confidence motion if required, the DMK is yet to make any political move to topple the government despite being a powerful opposition with 89 MLAs.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Updated: August 18, 2017 6:09 pm
DMK President M K Stalin, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami, Health Minister C Vijayabaskar, India news, National news, Latest news DMK Working President MK Stalin. DMK is most likely to get elected if the government falls and faces an election within six months. (PTI File Photo)

As the standoff between ruling AIADMK factions continue, The Indian Express look at key issues and possible developments in this political crisis. Either way, the AIADMK government, which was re-elected to power in May 2016, is headed for rough times. TTV Dinakaran is meeting Sasikala today. O Panneerselvam is also meeting his leaders to take a final call on merger. In this context, Six points explain where exactly the state politics stands right now.

Why there are hurried decisions and move for a merger now?

As told by senior party leaders of the AIADMK and the Opposition, the BJP-led Centre, since February, has been playing a key role in creating a political situation in Tamil Nadu to ‘evict’ the entire Sasikala family from state politics and ‘de-link’ them fully from late Jayalalithaa’s party and its machinery.

And what makes the ‘emergency’ situation now is reportedly an attempt by both Edappadi K Palaniswami faction and O Panneerselvam faction to complete the merger process before August 22, the date scheduled for the visit of BJP president Amit Shah in Tamil Nadu.

Will DMK step in and move a no-confidence motion?

In a country that has seen plenty of examples of how an elected government is sabotaged, the DMK continues to project a fair image until today. Except for a statement of its leader M K Stalin that they will move a no-confidence motion if required, the DMK is yet to make any political move to topple the government despite being a powerful opposition with 89 MLAs.

If the Sasikala faction manages to expand its base in the coming days and still faces an ouster from the party, the DMK will step in to capitalise on the situation and become the major beneficiary of the ongoing political crisis. Even if Stalin is away, reportedly in Vienna or London, holidaying, top sources in the DMK says the time is not too far for them to step in.

If the AIADMK government fall, how will the DMK benefit?

In the present political situation, DMK is most likely to get elected if the government falls and faces an election within six months. And if DMK wins the election, the favourable political climate would obviously help them to prove their strength in the subsequent local body elections, cooperative elections and the Lok Sabha elections in the months to follow. Will Central agencies start targeting DMK and its key leaders too to prevent them from taking extra ordinary steps? Wait and see.

What are the hopes of BJP for their alleged role in Tamil Nadu’s political crisis?

BJP’s National Secretary H Raja refuses to comment on reported offers and alleged threats by Delhi to facilitate a forced merger in AIADMK. But one thing that he would admit is his party’s stand to finish off the family politics of Sasikala. Whether the BJP’s plan to capture the south is going to materialise or not, the BJP believes that discarding Sasikala family from state politics will bring them credibility. And BJP believes that they have all the credible reasons to disrupt the political condition if it can wipe off the Sasikala family from Tamil Nadu politics, which remains a plan, however, and difficult than they imagined.

But if the merger happens and the government retains the majority, top BJP sources indicate that they would take the state for an early assembly polls in 2019, along with Lok Sabha polls. A larger NDA alliance comprising BJP, EPS and OPS factions, possibly Rajinikanth and smaller allies hopes to capture Tamil Nadu amidst an expected ‘Modi Wave’ in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Will the government fall if the merger happens?

The government may or may not fall. But for sure, the merger will take the state politics onto a different level as the key condition for the merger is ousting AIADMK chief V K Sasikala and her family.

In the present condition, despite having no powers in the government and in spite of facing the wrath of the Centre, the Sasikala family continues to fight and hold an upper hand in AIADMK party machinery, which includes district leaderships, party offices, party organs such as Namadhu MGR and Jaya TV, and assets worth crores of the party parked elsewhere.

Suppose, if the merger happens and Sasikala family manages to retain their 20 or more MLAs support, the government is bound to fall. The ruling faction along with OPS faction doesn’t have the minimum number of MLAs to save the government today.

How strong are the convictions of EPS and OPS factions for a merger?

Essentially, according to leaders in both camps, both EPS and OPS are fighting a battle that they never wanted to. Going a step further, an OPS faction leader says how guilty is his leader for doing what he did since February.

Right now, the reason for the delay in the merger is not just the risk of having enough MLAs. Nor any ideological conflicts too. But it is the infighting and disagreements in both camps on sharing post-merger perks.

As expected, the EPS camp has aspirants who want to grab key posts including cabinet births after the merger. For instance, one of the key players, minister D Jayakumar, expects nothing less than a cabinet post at the Centre for his son J Jayavardhan MP, probably one of the few MPs of AIADMK with a high educational qualification.

Meanwhile, the OPS camp also has conflicts emerging from within. As he has called for a consultation meeting today evening with his key leaders, a section is opposing OPS’s wish to settle the merger with a few compromises such as sacrificing his dream to become the chief minister. While Mafoi Pandiarajan in his camp wants to seal the merger deal and get back into the state cabinet that he resigned in last February, a group led by Rajya Sabha MP V Maitreyan, a potential candidate to grab the cabinet berth at Centre reportedly offered by BJP, is strongly opposing a merger with compromises.

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  1. C
    Curious onlooker
    Aug 19, 2017 at 3:29 pm
    AIADMK factions in the self interest of their respective leaders are destroying their organizations and putting their State at the mercy of a non native party that has no concern or interest whatsoever for its development except seeking control of TN for its own hidden motive of wielding supremacy over all of India. AIADMK factions are playing a dangerous game putting the state at peril. The two factions and the DMK should come together to rescue the State from this dangerous situation or agree on a formula that would help the people of the state remain the masters of their own affairs.
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    1. S
      syed ansar
      Aug 18, 2017 at 9:19 pm
      BJP is day dreaming that it can occupy the space of AIADMK space with the help of rajnikant .....but tamil nadu is not UP......it seems bjp has not learnt any lesson from jallikattu protest......the assertion of dravidian culture against brahmanic hegemony. ....people will show to rajnikant his place let alone BJP....
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      1. K
        kcravindran
        Aug 18, 2017 at 7:14 pm
        The utter failure the TN populace shies to accept to acknowlege is the so called drividian movement. Its main purpose of its existence was against the highhandedness of brahminism which had a self death. Other than that no leader of this movement could claim the upliftment of the downtrodden though they had ample opportunities to be in the ruling position not only in the state but in the center too. People after the death of Annadurai started watching closely and realised that their very existence is for power and indulge in money making and fame. They shifted towards Jaya permanently. Now the great Jaya is no more but the DMK is still unable to have a come back with a loud and clear tone due to lack of strong leaders within it. The people are aware that there are some serious cases pending against the DMK and are reluctant to be close with them. Even though there is a lot of factionalism, claims and counter claims, the people are ready to go to with AIADMK supported by BJP.
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        1. H
          Haridas Panicker
          Aug 18, 2017 at 6:56 pm
          Tamil Nadu is heading for President's rule followed by elections that the DMK will sweep! The Tamil people are totally fed up with the AIDMK factions who are totally inept and selfish! No more can the charisma of the late Jayalalitha save them from total self-destruction!
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          1. I
            Ivan
            Aug 18, 2017 at 6:28 pm
            AIADMK was JJ and JJ was AIADMK. Without her, this party is already finished. OPS' drama could have made a difference in the early days when he made a big show of carrying on Amma's legacy. But by now everyone in TN, fairly or not think his drama was undertaken at the behest of the BJP. Ironically enough it is only the Sasikala faction, for all their corruption that can actually fight and win elections. All the rest of AIADMK have no base of their own except to cling to Amma's saree. The BJP's shenanigans will not work as there is no 'party' there. The lovely Ms Jayalalitha, has sent the AIADMK to oblivion with her death.
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            1. R
              Rajesh
              Aug 18, 2017 at 4:32 pm
              Once a mighty AIADMK now has reduced to non significant. The internal squabbling, power hungry leaders and mainly interference from BJP are making mockery of Tamilnadu state and its people. Jayalalitha is gone and these morons are now allowing central government to interfere in their internal matter. What a pity?
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              1. S
                Selvan
                Aug 18, 2017 at 4:26 pm
                Do anything Don't let Modi in. That's all Let Tamilnadu enjoy its Dravidian tradition. Get away from Modi. BJP will Sanskritize Tamilnadu.
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                1. V
                  Venkatesan Rajagopalan
                  Aug 18, 2017 at 5:50 pm
                  superb. Do not allow Modi .. Bring dravidian looters and spoil TN further, Barring Kamaraj the great people's leader, all others are looters.. the aged DMK leader is to be blamed.. as he introduced bribe in all sectors. His dynasty is carrying the torch of looting and waiting for time.
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                  1. R
                    raj
                    Aug 18, 2017 at 5:58 pm
                    Aren't you a cross thread?
                    1. K
                      kumar
                      Aug 18, 2017 at 7:14 pm
                      But, Haven/t the looters still managed to develop the state better than the pure leaders of the BJP? Havent also the looters still maintained law and order social harmony better than the God- sent BJP leaders?
                  2. A
                    ashok
                    Aug 18, 2017 at 3:47 pm
                    The DMK would be well served to conduct itself with dignity. In the last assembly election, Ms Jayalalithaa broke the normal, oust the incumbent cycle. With her gone and the party now a divided house, the odds favour a return of the DMK to power. Comrade Stalin should be patient and principled.
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