The last word is far from being said in the ongoing AIADMK faction war in Tamil Nadu. The AIADMK Amma faction leader VK Sasikala, who, at one point in time, was on the threshold of getting sworn in as the Tamil Nadu chief minister, is now on the brink of getting thrown away from the party itself.
The Sasikala and the rival O Panneerselvam factions of AIADMK are reportedly holding talks for their merger and retrieving the frozen "two leaves" election symbol. The chance of merger got brighter when former chief minister Panneerselvam himself talked about such a possibility.
However, more than the merger, an acceptable leadership would present a solution to AIADMK's travails. The two factions would have to iron out several issues related to leadership for a long-standing merger to take place between Sasikala-led AIADMK Amma and Panneerselvam-led AIADMK Puratchi Thalaivi Amma factions.
OUSTER OF SASIKALA AND DINAKARAN FROM AIADMK
As the first step towards merger, OPS (O Panneerselvam) has put the condition of ouster of Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dinakaran who was recently elevated to the post of AIADMK general secretary.
OPS has said that AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran (MGR) and Jayalalithaa were always against family rule. Hence, his faction would not rest until the Sasikala's family is thrown out of the AIADMK. They are vehemently against Sasikala and Dinakaran having a grip over the party.
The revolt inside the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS) camp is spiralling out of control. Even senior ministers are the removal of Dinakaran and Sasikala.
Dinakaran has lost support of influential party leaders such as Jayakumar, SP Velumani, Thangamani and Vaithyalingam. They had helped him enter AIADMK again after Jayalalithaa's death. The four leaders are apprehensive of their names being associated with health minister Vijaybhaskar who was raided by the Income Tax department earlier this month.
Also, the elevation of Dinakaran as party general secretary has only heightened the feeling among the party leaders and cadres that AIADMK would stand to lose in the long run under the Mannargudi family.
There is a growing feeling in the EPS camp that they are trapped now. They are likely to be saved if Sasikala and Dinkaran quit their positions within the party.
CBI PROBE INTO JAYALALITHAA'S DEATH
Panneerselvam's another core demand is instituting an inquiry by the CBI into the "mysterious" death of former chief minister Jayalalithaa. OPS faction seeks to keep the issue of Amma's mysterious death burning in order to put Sasikala on the back foot.
The two issues of the ouster of Sasikala and Dinakaran and instituting a probe into Amma's death may not be too difficult to be agreed upon. There is a growing dissidence in the Sasikala faction, particularly after the Delhi Police booked Dinakaran for trying to bribe the Election Commission to get the 'two leaves' election symbol.
WRANGLING OVER ACCEPTABLE LEADERSHIP
The main differences which would take time to be ironed out are over the holding of posts in the government and the party.
For a merger of the two factions to take place, the senior leaders would have decide mainly over the posts of the chief minister and AIADMK general secretary.
There is one possibility of Panneerselvam being made the chief minister and Palaniswami his deputy.
However, it would materialise only if Palaniswami would be ready to get demoted.
Alternatively, while OPS can become the CM, EPS may be asked to accept the role of AIADMK general secretary.
Madhusudhanan will remain as the AIADMK presidium chairman.
A plan is also being formulated to bring Sasikala out of prison in four months if she and Dinakaran quit the party posts and agree not to involve themselves in party decisions but can be party workers.
The two camps are holding hectic parleys to find an amicable solution to the vexed leadership issue.
Members of the EPS camp led by education minister Sengottaiyan is likely to meet Panneerselvam tonight and will try and barter the deal.