Former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam (OPS) breaking away gave the impression that the party was divided between the OPS and the Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami(EPS). But TTV Dinakaran, who is the Deputy General Secretary of the party, has floated a third faction in the aftermath of the cancelled election at RK Nagar and his subsequent imprisonment and release. All factions claim a good following for them.
EPS is trying to consolidate his position as the CM of TN. It is now time for him to demonstrate the power of the ruling party. Like it or not, we are in the parliamentary form of government where the CM is the leader of the majority party and thereby, he has the responsibility to nurture the party and to bring the different factions together. It is his duty to present a unified ruling party. The different factions will give different pressures, either directly or indirectly and this will weaken the hands of the chief minister. The party came to power for a historic second time precisely because it was able to present a good track-record in the first term. In order to consolidate what has been built in the first term, the party needs to show an united front. The 2011-16 term had given the party a good chance to perceive the problems of the State and respond to it. This period witnessed a greater protection of State interest in a federal structure like ours. This second term is a period to follow the policies and programmes of the party (as it was in the first term), but one can see a major shift in its policies and programmes. The mandate given by the people is for continuation of the same and not for dramatic changes.
Dinakaran’s statewide tour to seek support will give him the ground reality of the party. It will also give him an opportunity to see the problems of TN, which require immediate attention. He can see for himself the shrinking support-base for the party and for the different factions. The party is in its infant stages of a successive term, with a number of unfulfilled poll-promises. Factionalism in a party either leads to a merger or the birth of a new party. The different factions have not spelt out their strategies (if they have one); unless that is done the followers of the party cannot be kept long in a faction. This is a political paralysis.
One can expect two things to happen: either there is a merger or an emergence of new party (coalition). Otherwise the Opposition parties must act fast to dislodge a non-performing government. Except the main Opposition party DMK, all other political parties are silent and that is not good for TN, as it faces challenges within and from outside.
— The writer is a political analyst