Leader of the AIADMK PT faction leader and former Chief Minister O Pannerselvam is expected to meet PrimeMinisterNarendraModi and BJP president Amit Shah in New Delhi tomorrow to finalise merger with the rival K Edappadi Palanisamy group.
Pannerselvam, who is playing hard to get despite Palanisamydeclaring as illegal disputed general secretary T T V Dinakaran’s appointment by jailed interim general secretary V K Sasikala, was refused an audience with Modi and Shah when he went to Delhi .
While Palanisamy was able to meet the two leaders, Pannerselvam flew to Mumbai en route to Shirdi to muse over what he had done to incur the displeasure of BJP’s big bosses.
Modi wants the two to merge, withdraw the case before the Election Commission and reclaim the frozen Two Leaves Symbol as a united AIADMK can get the BJP the votes of MGR and Jayalalitha whenever elections are held in the State.
Pannerselvam,who has only a handful of MLAs and MPs, has taken the high moral ground by insisting thatinsisting that there can be no merger unless Sasikala and Dinakaran are totally eliminated from the party, because he has nothing to lose.
On the other hand, Edappadi has to take measured steps, surviving as he does on the support of 122 MLAs at least 20 of whom are defiantly supporting Dinakaran.
Moreover, Pannerselvam was also party to Sasikala’s elevation as interim general secretary last February, two months after the passing of J Jayalalitha. He revolted only after Sasikala forced him out of officeinstalled in his place Edappadi who she thought would be her proxy.
Under pressure from Modi, Edappadi has also distanced himself from her though Dinakaran has been threatening to pull the plug.
The only way to meet the immediate threat from Dinakaran is by merger as it will ensure the support of 11 MLAs to the Government.
Sasikala can be got rid off permanently only if the two factions merge and elect a new set of office-bearers which will supercede all previous appointments.
Pannerselvam wants to extract his pound of flesh—either Deputy CM and or head of a seven-man committee to run the party till the general council meets.
He is no longer insisting on the other absurd demand—a CBI enquiry into circumstances surrounding the death of Jayalaltiha. As Sasikala was by her side during 75 days she was in Apollo, the implication is that she was responsible for her death. He is no longer insisting on that.
The snub he got in New Delhi will make Pannerselvam to see reason and hasten the merger so that the two leaders can jointly face the challenge posed by Dinakaran to the government and the party.