A week after searches targeting business firms controlled by jailed AIADMK leader V K Sasikala’s nephew Vivek Jayaraman and other family members shook the AIADMK factions, new fissures have emerged not only within the ruling faction of AIADMK but also in the Sasikala family.
On Tuesday, AIADMK’s OPS faction leader V Maitreyan hinted that all is not well within the merged ruling faction. As the merger of the Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) and O Panneerselvam (OPS) factions completed three months, Maitreyan’s Facebook post asked whether “the hearts too are merged?”
According to sources, Maitreyan, a Rajya Sabha MP and former BJP leader, was unhappy about the merger conditions and is likely to join the BJP if problems in the ruling faction are not settled. Two other senior AIADMK leaders admitted there were problems. “Such problems are obvious. We are hardly three months old. We will resolve them,” said an EPS faction leader.
“Even if there are issues, we have no other solution. Maitreyan and (Mafoi) Pandiarajan may be able to join the BJP, but I or leaders like Manoj Pandian have no such options. Also, we do not want to abandon OPS,” said a leader close to OPS camp. The problems are reportedly not too serious, though many senior OPS faction leaders feel they are being sidelined by the EPS faction, which largely controls the government. Meanwhile, an article published in Namadhu MGR, the AIADMK mouthpiece controlled by Sasikala’s nephew Vivek, on Tuesday wrote that the time has come to witness Governor’s rule.
“It is learnt that Edappadi government will be dismissed on November 25 or 26 to impose the Governor rule. It is also learnt that EPS and OPS and 23 ministers will be arrested on corruption charges and put behind bars. Governor is in possession of all evidence of corruption against ministers,” said the article.
The article, carried as a column without an author’s name, came on a day when Vivek revealed in the media that he would be ready to enter politics if given a chance. A week ago, Vivek was seen making comments differing from the stand of Sasikala’s other nephew and party leader T T V Dinakaran on the searches. While Dinakaran had attacked the BJP government at the Centre, Vivek had said the I-T sleuths were doing their job “professionally”. Insiders said that Dinakaran and Vivek had disagreements over many issues.
“After the raids, Vivek seems to have more interest or is facing pressure to enter politics. That will essentially weaken Dinakaran and Sasikala family,” said a senior leader in the Sasikala camp.
Apsara Reddy, spokesperson of the Sasikala faction, said, “Dinakaran remains our leader and is doing a fine job of handling party affairs. I feel Vivek shares this view on TTV.” An AIADMK minister said nothing would happen until the Gujarat poll results. “If Gujarat gives a sound victory to the BJP, we are told that there may be a floor test in the Assembly here. An election will follow or prolonged Governor’s rule,” he said.