CHENNAI: Facing a tough battle of attrition waged by influential leaders of the ruling party, the AIADMK factions led by squabbling leaders, Edappadi K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam, and the splinter AMMK headed by TTV Dhinakaran have found a much-needed respite from a rather unexpected corner: ousted leader VK Sasikala.
Sasikala’s recent comments that discussions and efforts were on to bring the sulking factions under one umbrella has enthused not only the AMMK cadre who have pledged allegiance to her, but also the OPS faction and even the EPS group. Some of the district secretaries in both these camps have used her statement to stave off the Ministers’ attempt to wean away the AIADMK cadre.
“A few ward secretaries and other office-bearers are being repeatedly approached by the Ministers and also MLAs belonging to the ruling DMK. We have been finding it difficult to prevent poaching. But now, the recent statement by Sasikala has helped us stem the migration to other parties, at least temporarily,” said a district-level functionary from Team OPS.
What has given renewed hope for the cadre from all factions is that the preparation for Lok Sabha elections has already commenced. Facing a dominant DMK that is yet to face any serious setback, many are expecting at least OPS, Sasikala, and Dhinakaran to join hands ahead of the general election in 2024.
“We are taking all efforts to ensure that followers don’t migrate to other parties. But any delay in the merger may only be advantageous for the DMK, particularly Minister Senthilbalaji, who is targeting our resources periodically,” said an AIADMK senior, citing the recent case of Kovai Selvaraj, a former spokesperson who moved to the DMK.