The state of Tamil Nadu has gone through political turmoil after AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa passed away in 2016. The problem of who will lead the AIADMK party has troubled the politicians in the state. In the recently concluded R K Nagar Assembly bypoll (seat vacated by the late J Jayalalithaa) T T V Dinakaran won with huge votes. According to the Indian Express, senior politicians in the state said, “Sunday’s win will result in confusion among party cadre and top leaders about who is heading the “real party” in the eyes of voters. It will raise questions about the “true inheritor” of Jayalalithaa’s legacy. And, it will lead to turbulence within the unified AIADMK faction led by Chief Minister E K Palaniswamy and Deputy CM O Panneerselvam. A senior AIADMK minister said that he sent his aides to meet Dinakaran’s close supporters and express support as soon as R K Nagar Assembly bypoll results were declared.
The minister also added, “Unknowingly, the people of R K Nagar may just have elected the next chief minister… The rebel camp will definitely gain more strength. Many MLAs of the ruling faction have already spoken to Dinakaran. We do not want this government to fall. But if that is the fate that awaits us when the Assembly session begins in January, we will join Dinakaran, retain the government and make him the chief minister.”
Leaders close to Dinakaran said he would not topple the government but try to “capture” it “like Palaniswami did to Panneerselvam” early this year. As far as DMK is considered, the win has also brought hope to the party, even though its candidate in R K Nagar lost his deposit.
“If there is one more floor test, as we expect, this government will fall and we will face polls in the next six or seven months,” said a senior DMK MLA.
A senior DMK leader told the Indian Express, “If there is one more floor test, as we expect, this government will fall and we will face polls in the next six or seven months.” He added, “The DMK will definitely move a no-confidence motion. If the verdict in the case of the 19 MLAs favours Dinakaran, he may try to avoid an election as that will favour DMK. But we hope that the BJP will respond to Dinakaran’s victory with a hammer as usual and facilitate elections.”
The sources told the Indian Express that in the AIADMK ruling faction indicated that a large section of its MLAs and ministers may join Dinakaran if such a situation emerges. The sources also said, “Except for a few top leaders, including Palaniswami, Panneerselvam and ministers such as Jayakumar and Pandiarajan, a large section of the top leadership is in touch with the Dinakaran camp or the Sasikala family.”