The AIADMK’s deposed coordinator, O. Panneerselvam, on Friday sounded conciliatory towards AMMK general secretary T.T.V. Dhinakaran.
“If I get an opportunity, I will meet him [Mr. Dhinakaran],” Mr Panneerselvam told reporters at his residence here, after meeting the newly appointed office-bearers of his group.
(In February 2017, after quitting as the Chief Minister, the AIADMK’s former coordinator launched ‘dharmayudham’, a campaign against the domination of the party’s former interim general secretary, V.K. Sasikala, and her family in the AIADMK. He also said he was “compelled” to resign from his post and “humiliated” while holding the high office.)
Mr. Panneerselvam, who still calls himself the coordinator, said he would convene the general council of the group and visit all the districts. To a question, he replied that there was no political significance to be attached to his receiving and seeing off Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Madurai last week and meeting Union Home Minister Amit Shah here a few days later.
On Thursday, Mr. Dhinakaran, also a nephew of Ms. Sasikala, said, “There is nothing wrong in extending a hand of friendship to a person who has undergone reformation,” as the AIADMK’s former coordinator repented for what he did. Neither his party nor himself was keen on aligning with the AIADMK’s interim general secretary, Edappadi K. Palaniswami, who was speaking out of “frustration”. He added, “I have been maintaining that followers of Amma [former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa] should come together under one umbrella to defeat the DMK,” he pointed out.
Asked whether Mr. Palaniswami, by ruling out the possibility of the AMMK getting accommodated in the ‘mega alliance’, had sought to pre-empt anyone from trying to have Mr. Dhinakaran’s party included, he said it was for the AIADMK leader to clarify. But, during the 2021 Assembly election, New Delhi-based “well wishers” of Tamil Nadu and their allies had tried to have the AMMK in a front that took on the DMK. “I had suggested 40-50 candidates. But the efforts did not fructify,” he recalled, without disclosing the identity of the “well wishers”.
Meanwhile, AIADMK organisation secretary D. Jayakumar reiterated Mr. Palaniswami’s point that there was little possibility of the alliance roping in Mr. Dhinakaran, Ms. Sasikala and Mr. Panneerselvam.
Asked whether the ‘mega alliance’, an idea being floated by Mr Palaniswami, would include the Congress, he replied that the composition of the proposed alliance would be finalised only on the eve of the election. However, parties, now part of the DMK-led coalition, might cross over to the front headed by his party for the 2024 Lok Sabha election.