In a significant development in the political circles of Tamil Nadu, expelled AIADMK leader O Panneerselvam (OPS) on Monday met with Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam chief TTV Dhinakaran at the latter’s residence in Chennai and announced to join hands to “retrieve” the Edappadi K Palaniswami-led AIADMK and put up a political fight against their common enemy – the ruling DMK in the state.
Both Panneerselvam and Dhinakaran have confirmed that they will meet J Jayalalithaa’s close aide VK Sasikala once she returns to Chennai.
“Our goal is to place the AIADMK founded by MG Ramachandran in the hands of the party cadre. The party should be retrieved from traitors. It is time to join hands and fight the DMK. This is what the AIADMK cadre wants. It is time for us to unite. EPS is a traitor and DMK is our enemy,” Dhinakaran said after an over 40-minute meeting with OPS.
Speculation is rife that OPS, Dhinakaran, and Sasikala will join hands to try and stake claim to the legacy of Jayalalithaa. Sasikala, so far, has maintained that she is the “real general secretary” and that she will unite the AIADMK ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
“We informed Chinnamma (Sasikala) about the meeting. She is not in town. We will meet her very soon,” OPS said.
For OPS, it is a full circle in his equation with Sasikala since his first rebellion against her immediately after the death of Jayalalithaa in December 2016. After joining hands with Palaniswami in September 2017, OPS was on his wagon till his ouster recently. With almost all doors having been closed on him, he met with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin’s son-in-law and an important DMK power centre Sabareesan this week.
When asked about the meeting, OPS said it was nothing to do with politics.
Meanwhile, Palaniwami has united all disparate factions of the AIADMK and holds the top position in the party. However, caste equations can prove tricky for the AIADMK now, if OPS manages to gather the Mukulathor community, a dominant caste Hindu vote bank, behind him. In the run up to the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, OPS sudden manoeuvrings can throw a spanner in the works for Palaniswami.