29 May 2017 | Last updated 02:31 PM

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Ignoring political instability in TN could be dangerous
Rohit Chandavarkar | Monday, 24 April 2017 AT 09:44 PM IST
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The country has seen instability and violence in Kashmir for over a decade now. Previously, similar violence was experienced in Punjab too but one state that has seen terrible and a bloody conflict in this country, which almost assumed the stature of a war, was Tamil Nadu. The state saw peace returning only after certain western powers decided to shut down the logistical support they were providing to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) after the attack on New York by Osama Bin Laden’s men. But till that time the Tamil state, as well as Sri Lanka, suffered a huge damage.

Now, once again in the post-Jayalalithaa era, the state of Tamil Nadu is showing signs of political instability. Most observers feel that this instability has to be addressed in the right way in the national interest or else the state could once again face major political and economic trouble like it did for two decades before 2002.

Many experts predict that the AIADMK is now on the verge of a three-way split in the post-Jaya era and signs of that are already evident. Merger negotiations expected to begin at the ruling AIADMK’s head office in Chennai this week have again run into rough weather, with new tough talk by the faction led by former chief minister O Panneerselvam, provoked by what they described as ‘loose statements being made by leaders’ of the rival camp of Chief Minister E Palaniswamy or EPS.

The OPS camp is sticking to its pre-condition for holding talks, which it says are non-negotiable. It wants a CBI investigation into former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s death.

The effort for a re-merger stems from the need to retrieve the party’s famous Two-Leaf symbol, suspended by the Election Commission after both factions staked claim to it. Crucial local body elections are expected to be held in Tamil Nadu in July and a divided AIADMK contesting without the symbol that lakhs of voters recognise as that of J Jayalalithaa or Amma will be at a severe disadvantage against chief rival i.e. the DMK.

But both factions want to ensure that they do not give up too much control of a united AIADMK. Seven members from each side will negotiate on tricky issues like whether Palaniswamy will continue as Chief Minister or Panneerselvam will return to the post he was forced to quit in February by Sasikala. Both sides also want the party chief’s post.

The AIADMK had split in February weeks after Jayalalithaa, the AIADMK’s sole leader, died. Her closest companion of three decades Sasikala was made AIADMK General Secretary and soon attempted to become Chief Minister too, unseating  Panneerselvam. OPS revolted and a wave of public opinion favoured him over Sasikala. But he could not swing the support of more than a few of the party’s lawmakers. Most backed Palaniswamy, who was installed as a proxy chief minister by Sasikala, whose chief ministerial hopes were dashed by the Supreme Court convicting her in a corruption case and ordering her to jail.

The Centre has to act at the right time and ensure that warring factions of the ruling party do not damage the interest of stakeholders in the state. The administration must run normally state’s decision making must run smoothly and economic stability must be ensured.

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