NEW DELHI: AIADMK factions led by Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisamy and rebel leader O.Panneerselvam merged on Monday on the basis of various conditions, after prolonged discussions and mediations.

But, the party was almost immediately dragged into yet another crisis. 19 rebel MLAs supporting ousted deputy general secretary of AIADMK and Sasikala’s nephew T.T.V.Dhinakaran (who was earlier with the CM) called on the Tamil Nadu Governor Ch.Vidyasagar Rao to submit their withdrawal of support letter, expressing lack of confidence in the Chief Minister

T.T.V.Dhinakaran was not present at the meeting with the Governor. The 19 rebel MLAs claimed in the letter that they were “disillusioned with the function of the government headed by Palanisamy, as there has been abuse of power, favouritism, misuse of government machinery, widespread corruption”. The identical letters submitted by the 19 rebel MLAs to the Governor say, “I withdraw my earlier support given to him vide this communication. I further submit that I have not given up my membership of AIADMK”.

One of the active rebel MLAs in this faction, Thangatamilselvan said, “our motive is to have a no-confidence motion against the Chief Minister”. He further added that “You need to wait and see how we are going to replace the Chief Minister”. He said, “we have many sleeper cells who will join us at right time” .

The rebel 19 MLAs were upset that the Chief Minister had not consulted them and inducted O. Panneerselavam as deputy CM even “who was the cause for the mess of the party today and loosing the two leaves symbol of the party’.

C.R.Sarawati, former spokesperson of AIADMK and now with the T.T.V.Dhinakaran camp said, “they should have consulted us about the merger as we have 19 legislators but the CM went ahead with Panneerselvam who has the support of only 9 MLAs ”. Panneerselvam has the support of the BJP that has been insisting on the merger.

Later in the evening, the 18 rebel MLAs (except one MLA Vetrivel) were taken to the Windflower Resort and SPA in Chinna Veeraramapattinam, near Puducherry to prevent horse trading that has now become rampant in such political situations.

It is reported that 3 Independent legislators have also extended support to Dhinakaran, bringing the number up to 22 MLAs., still two short of the 24 required to move a no-confidence vote in the Assembly against the government.

Opposition leader and DMK working president Stalin wrote a letter to the Governor requesting him for a floor test. He said that this should be done at the earliest as, “any inordinate delay in asking the Chief Minister to prove his majority in the instant case will pave way for the continuance of an unconstitutional government and it will destabilise the democratic norms and precedents established in demonstrating the confidence of the House.”

Stalin warned against the real possibility of horse trading, pointing out that the same had enabled the CM to prove a majority in the earlier confidence motion.

Following Stalin ,other leaders like Dr.Anbumani Ramadoss of Pattali Makkal Katchi(PMK), Thol.Thirumavalavan of Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and the leader of Congress legislative Party K.R.Ramasamy demanded the CM to prove his majority on the floor of the House. Now, the ball is in the court of the TN Governor who left for Mumbai after meeting the legislators in the Dhinakaran camp.

The merger has clearly not succeeded, and the fate of the government remains uncertain. The BJP had made it apparent that after the merger the AIADMK would be welcome to join the NDA government at the centre, but the Dhinakaran rebellion has blocked the process.

The CM who was earlier seen to be party general secretary Sasikala’s protegee in government and the party, was persuaded by the BJP to switch sides. Just when all were speculating the end of Sasikala who is currently in jail, Dhinakaran has emerged with his 19 MLAs, constituting another faction now in the party. To register his loyalty, he has now ‘expelled’ the Rajya Sabha MP R.Vaithilingam from the primary membership of the party and sacked revenue minister R.B.Udayakumar and V .V. Rajan Chellappa from Madurai AIADMK for speaking against Sasikala.