IN the ongoing political stand-off between the warring factions of AIADMK, there is little chance of Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami or T T V Dinakaran dropping a bombshell immediately. However, both factions are keeping up the momentum by deploying second or third-rung leaders to verbally attack the other side.
The ruling faction headed by CM Palaniswami and deputy CM O Panneerselvam, it is learnt, is holding discussions with top ministers on plans to delay the floor test and stopping those rumoured to join the rival faction. On the other hand, Dinakaran, who promised to meet mediapersons on Wednesday, did not turn up even on Thursday. His office cited a throat infection as the cause that prevented him from addressing the media and visiting Puducherry, where some 19 MLAs supporting him are staying in a resort.
AIADMK chief whip in Assembly S Rajendran, who is supporting the Palaniswami faction, recommended that the Speaker disqualify the 19 MLAs in Dinakaran camp, who withdrew their support to the CM on Tuesday. Citing their letter to the Governor, Rajendran told reporters that they had gone against the unanimous decision taken by AIADMK legislators on February 14 to support CM Palaniswami. Interpreting their letter as an act similar to that of defection as per the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution, Rajendran said he had written to the Speaker and urged him to disqualify the MLAs.
On Thursday, one more MLA, E Rathinasabapathy representing the Aranthangi constituency, came out in Dinakaran’s support. Rathinasabapathy is known to have close links to Sasikala’s brother Dhiwakaran. As the second- or third-rung leaders continued to attack each other and effigies were burnt in isolated incidents, Dhiwakaran claimed that eight MLAs in his camp are backing Dinakaran besides the 19. The total number of MLAs supporting Dinakaran is 23 now, including three independent MLAs who extended their support in a written statement during Dinakaran’s rally in Melur last week.
V C Arukutty, MLA from Kavundampalayam, is another leader from the Palaniswami camp who attacked the Sasikala camp on Thursday. “Even if the government falls, they won’t be in the party,” he said.