Churning in AIADMK raises doubts over TN govt’s stability

Chennai: The ruling AIADMK on Tuesday appeared to be undergoing great churning with around 25 MLAs meeting T T V Dinakaran, who is out on bail, raising a question mark over the stability of the Edappadi K Palaniswami government.
Several MLAs and former lawmakers, including V P Kalairajan, met Dinakaran, who the ruling faction forced sometime ago to announce that he was stepping aside in the interest of party unity.
After the meeting, Kalairajan told reporters that MLAs were meeting Dinakaran, who continues to be the party’s Deputy General Secretary.
Senior leader and MLA, Thangatamil Selvan, even asserted that disciplinary action would be taken against Finance Minister D Jayakumar for his statement that Dinakaran had nothing to do with the party now.
Another supporter of Dinakaran and the party’s Karnataka unit chief, Pugazhendi, warned the ruling faction that it was surviving on a wafer thin majority of five MLAs and that Dinakaran enjoys the support of 25 legislators — in a hint that the government could come to harm.
However, Jayakumar — a powerful figure in the Edappadi faction — downplayed the threats from the other side, saying these are individual opinions of leaders.
Dinakaran, who was arrested in New Delhi in a case of trying to bribe Election Commission officials with Rs 50 crore for allot the “two leaves” symbol to the faction led by party General Secretary V K Sasikala, was released on bail by a court recently.
During the past two days, several AIADMK legislators met Dinakaran at his residence leading to impression about the formation of a third group in the ruling party, besides those led by former chief minister O Panneerselvam and by current Chief Minister K Palaniswami.
Meanwhile Palaniswami also met several party legislators on Tuesday.
In the Tamil Nadu Assembly, which has a strength of 234, the undivided AIADMK enjoyed the support of 134.
Twelve MLAs owe allegiance to the faction headed by Panneerselvam, leaving the ruling faction with the support of 122 — five more than the half way mark.
Even as Dinakaran supporters keep issuing warnings to the ruling group, they also maintain that they will not bring any harm to the government.
On Monday, the ruling AIADMK faction reiterated that they are firm on the decision to sideline jailed party General Secretary V K Sasikala and her nephew Dinakaran from the party.
After presiding over a meeting of ministers at the Secretariat, Finance Minister D Jayakumar said that his faction is firm on keeping away from both of them. — IANS