by R Rajagopalan | 06:24 PM August 07, 2017

As all factions bow to PM Modi, is he the best bet for the AIADMK?

As all factions bow to PM Modi, is he the best bet for TN?



Tamil Nadu's politics' is hard to analyse. It is fast changing, not by the day but by the hour and sometimes even by the minute. 

The splitting of the ruling party into three factions is an unseen precedent in the political history of the state. The AIADMK party, founded by public hero M G Ramachandran and nourished by Jayalalitha, split into three after the death of the Jayalalithaa, its strongest leader.

The three divisions are - Chief Minister Edapati Palanisamy's camp, former Chief Minister O Pannerselvam's group and TTV Dinakaran's faction.

CM Palanisamy has the state government and its power. He also controls 95-100 MLAs, who seem to be in his camp simply thanks to his power as CM.  O Pannerselvam, due to his simplicity and having raised his voice against Sasikala, has an estimated 75% of the AIADMK cadre, district units and organisations behind him. TTV Dinakaran, the Deputy General Secretary of the AIADMK, has the party funds, which are alleged to run into the thousands of crores. 

Basically, EPS has the power, OPS has the cadre, and TTV Dinakaran has the cash.

Interestingly, despite these splits and weakness, the opposition is not able to dislodge them. The DMK is a formidable opposition to the AIADMK. But the party is weak on the ground, especially after Karunanidhi's hospitalisation at the advanced age of 94.  

The internal war within the family of Karunanidhi has become a curse for Tamil Nadu's politics. It is why MK Stalin, the son of Karunanidhi and the DMK have been unable to dislodge the weakest AIADMK government in Tamil's history.  

So the three factions are still formidable forces, but with each busy in spying on the other two, politicking has become more of a business than the running of the state administration or the strengthening of the AIADMK party.

Whether these three factions will manage to keep their vote banks intact, is a question that only an election can determine. 

But all three factions (EPS, OPS and TTV) are currently bowing before PM Narendra Modi. Indeed, after Jayalalithaa's demise, the factions have made more frequent visits to New Delhi to be seen with Modi. 

Why?

The situation of the two major national parties - BJP and Congress - is pathetic in TN. The two sides have no roots in the public mind. Be it the corruption-ridden Congress or the Modi-driven BJP; both lack organisational strength.

But the BJP has a leg up on the Congress. Modi and Jayalalitha were a forceful combination. The Congress and Sonia Gandhi were a common enemy. Jayalalitha was the first political leader to support Narendra Modi publicly in 2002 after Godhra and the related events in Gujarat.  Both CMs also attended each other's swearing in ceremonies. 

The BJP presumably wants to continue this advantage, to help it crack into the only Southern state where the party has no standing whatsoever.  

Modi as Prime Minister supported Jallikattu and a special ordinance was promulgated for it. When the NEET examination had a legal and technical glitch for thousands of TN students, Modi tried to resolve that as well.

Politically, after the Presidential and Vice Presidential elections, PM Modi has to give Tamil Nadu a political 'thanks' in return. 

But is Tamil Nadu safe in the hands of Narendra Modi? The answer is an emphatic yes.  

R Rajagopalan is a senior journalist who has been a keen observer of Tamil Nadu politics for three decades

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