AIADMK firm on no alliance with AMMK, BJP still trying

AIADMK firm on not including AMMK in alliance, BJP still trying

Palaniswami has been red-flagging the move ever since it was floated by the BJP in January this year

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami. Credit: PTI File Photo

Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK seemed firm on not inducting its splinter group Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) led by V K Sasikala's nephew T T V Dhinakaran in the party-led alliance for the April 6 assembly elections. The party leadership, especially Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, is understood to have conveyed their stand to Union Home Minister Amit Shah during a meeting here on Sunday night.

However, the BJP, it is learnt, is keen on inducting AMMK in the alliance to prevent any split in the AIADMK core vote bank. Sources said Palaniswami, who was hand-picked by Sasikala as the Chief Minister, is believed to have expressed “serious concerns” over inducting AMMK into the alliance, let alone a merger.

“The Chief Minister feels there is no need to induct AMMK into the alliance. He believes that the AIADMK's core vote bank is with the party and the recent announcements by his government will pull the party through this election. He made his stand clear,” a source in the know told Deccan Herald.

Read | AIADMK leaders hold seat-sharing talks with Amit Shah

Palaniswami has been red-flagging the move ever since it was floated by the BJP in January this year. “The BJP wanted AIADMKto allot more number of seats and the saffron party will give some seats from its quota to the AMMK,” another source said.

The Chief Minister feels inducting Dhinakaran would not augur well for him in the “long run” especially after the elections. Interestingly, Sasikala, who vowed to plunge into active politics after her return from Bengaluru, is maintaining a studied silence.

BJP believes AMMK votes will decide the victory in more than 40 constituencies in southern and parts of central region in Tamil Nadu where the Mukulathors, the caste to which Sasikala and Dhinakaran belong, are in large numbers.

DH had reported on January 20 that BJP was working towards bringing together the AIADMK and AMMK. The proposal mooted by BJP was that Dhinakaran's AMMK will join the AIADMK-led alliance accepting Palaniswami as the Chief Ministerial face.

“We need to wait and watch what happens. The BJP is still trying to convince the AIADMK leadership,” another source said. AMMK-led by Dhinakaran, who was inducted back into AIADMK by Sasikala hours before she left for Bengaluru to surrender before authorities at the Parappana Agrahara prison in February 2017, scored 5.25 percent of votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

After the defeat, Dhinakaran went into a shell and has hardly addressed any public meeting in the past one year, though other parties like DMK, AIADMK, and MNM have already launched their election campaign. This is not the first time that the BJP is playing the mediator in bringing two factions of the AIADMK together. In 2017, the BJP played the role of a matchmaker in bring EPS and his now deputy, O Panneerselvam, together.