The February 25 resolution of AMMK general council for all-out efforts to make its general secretary TTV Dhinakaran the next chief minister of Tamil Nadu “with the blessings of Chinnamma” or Sasikala, and authorizing him to finalise alliances is a clear indication to the ruling AIADMK that it is prepared to launch its own front for the Assembly elections.
Statements by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and his party’s spokesperson D Jayakumar, ruling out any re-entry of Sasikala and her family into the AIADMK or even a merger or alliance of the party with AMMK (Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam), seems to have spurred the latter to launch an independent course of action.
Even though Sasikala and Dhinakaran had pitched for “unity”, a veiled reference to the need for the AMMK and the AIADMK to come together and to defeat the “enemy” (DMK), the February 25 general council made no such reference, and instead gave a clarion call to make Dinakaran the next chief minister.
The implication is obvious – this is a direct rebuff to Palaniswami who has rejected overtures for unity between the two ‘AIADMK’ groups.
In an indirect dig at Chief Minister Palaniswami, the AMMK general council also authorised efforts to “retrieve” the AIADMK from “selfish persons”.
The development comes a day after Sasikala granted audience to director-actor Seeman, leader of Naam Tamizhar Katchi (NTK) and Sarath Kumar, leader of Samathuva Makkal Katchi along with his actor-wife Radikaa. The moves in the last two days indicate that the AMMK is undertaking efforts to launch its own alliance for the elections, having realized that the doors of the AIADMK are closed at the moment.
Sasikala did not attend the AMMK general council and the executive meetings on February 25, but backed all the resolutions of the party including the move to make Dinakaran the next chief minister and authorising him to finalise the alliance and decide on ticket distribution.
The general council indicated two lines of action on the political front – one resolution mentioned the DMK as its enemy, while there were no resolutions critical of the BJP and its government at the Centre. The meeting, however, did ask the Centre to take corrective steps regarding the farm laws so as to accommodate the view points of the agitating farmers, bring petroleum products under GST (an indirect expression of unhappiness over rise in prices of petrol and diesel), and to reduce the number of toll plazas. In the case of toll plazas maintained by the state government, the AMMK wanted them to be scrapped.
The soft-line towards the BJP indicates the growing proximity between the two parties, and it is now entirely up to the BJP to try and work out an arrangement or a tie-up with the AIADMK for the Assembly elections. On its part, the AMMK wants to project the line that it was ready for co-operation, but that it had been turned down by the chief minister for reasons of his own.
Time is running out for the BJP to hammer out a compromise between these two warring groups. A settlement before the elections appears unlikely given the pace of developments in the last two days.