CHENNAI/MADURAI: On a day the sidelined deputy general secretary of the AIADMK TTV Dhinakaran flexed organisational muscle by parading over a dozen MLAs in Madurai, the two warring factions of the ruling party inched closer to the closure of a long-pending deal to merge.
Hours before Dhinakaran held the public meeting in Madurai on Monday evening, the original rebel, former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, finally managed an audience with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi, ending a three-day long wait.
“I explained the prevailing political situation,” Panneerselvam told reporters after calling on the Prime Minister, adding that they discussed the functioning of his rival, ‘Edappadi’ K Palaniswami’s government, too, during the 30-minute long meeting.
Though Panneerselvam reiterated that the decision on a merger would be based on the sentiments of the cadre and people, there is a clearer impetus towards a merger, for which the BJP’s national leadership is believed to be nudging the two factions.
“Panneerselvam’s comments after meeting PM Modi have conveyed a positive signal,” reacted Finance Minister D Jayakumar in Chennai. “Come forward with an open mind and we shall talk,” he added. With the meeting in Madurai, Dhinakaran has made the merger a necessity instead of just an option, as he has managed to gather a group of dissenters, enough in number to worry the government.