CHENNAI: After expressing willingness to accept the olive branch extended by a group of ministers belonging to the official faction, the rebel camp made a turnaround within 24 hours. Former chief minister O Panneerselvam had on Monday told reporters that he was ready to sit across the table to evolve a compromise formula without pre-conditions.
However, the next day, he took a combative posture attacking the family of VK Sasikala, saying that talks would be meaningful only if the family was entirely thrown of the party. He added that there was no change in the basic demands already put out by the rebels, which included a probe into the demise of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa.
OPS’ tough posturing came as a shock to the moderates in the Sasikala camp who thought he could be accommodated in the party fold to escape the wrath of the Centre, which is widely believed to be the architect of the present crisis.
Yet, even before OPS hardened his stance on merger talks, a few leaders of his camp came out stoutly against any sort of compromise. “The cadre are not happy with the idea of any patch-up because they doubt that the rival faction might have come forward for talks out of fear over more I-T raids as done at the premises of Health Minister C Vijaya Basker. We have been receiving calls from party men,” a senior leader of AIADMK-PT Amma said.
The rebel faction was afraid of facing a cadre backlash in the case of a sudden merger after loud sabre-rattling. Another factor that went against the merger talks was the suspicions over the sudden curiosity shown by certain ministers, who had attacked Panneerselvam ruthlessly over the days after his February 7 revolt, and the claim of overnight sidelining of TTV Dhinakaran and his family while keeping silent on Sasikala.
These apart, the poor offer from the rival camp was also cited to have driven a wedge in the merger bid, they said.