New Delhi: M Thambidurai, Lok Sabha deputy speaker and senior leader in the VK Sasikala-led AIADMK faction, boarded a late-night flight on Monday to New Delhi. In the national capital, the AIADMK leader has now been interacting with his close contacts in the BJP. This morning, Thambidurai held a quiet meeting with a senior BJP leader, who shall remain unnamed.
Thambidurai has emerged as the go-to person in the AIADMK. If the Sasikala and O Pannerselvam factions merge, alliance talks with the BJP will also begin.
The formula is that the AIADMK will support the Presidential nominee of the BJP and in return get 10 Parliament seats in 2019. The Centre will also extend its support to the Edapaadi Palanisamy government.
But for that to happen, the BJP wants an assurance from Thambidurai that the party’s 132 MLAs and 49 MPs will vote for the BJP’s Presidential candidate. Informal talks have begun between the two parties towards securing votes for the presidential election which is expected in the next two months. The AIADMK has 39 Lok Sabha and 12 Rajya Sabha MPs.
Indeed, if Thambidurai succeeds in securing the AIADMK’s votes and can provide a concrete proposal to the BJP leadership, it will ensure a career boost — a ministerial berth in the Modi cabinet.
The AIADMK is keen to get four berths — a cabinet minister, two Union Ministers of State (independent charge) and needless to say, retain the Deputy Speaker’s position, which is held by Thambidurai.
The AIADMK will also gain by being included in foreign delegations. So, in September during the United Nations General Assembly, the BJP is likely to depute four AIADMK MPs as part of the Indian delegation to New York.
Both the AIADMK and the BJP will benefit with from an alliance as the the AIADMK will get berths in the Union Ministry and the BJP in turn will get its numbers in the Parliament.
The alliance will be AIADMK, BJP, PMK and the Vaiko-led MDMK. The combine will be a formidable opposition for the DMK-Congress combination.
Thambidurai belongs to the Gownder community as do most of the MLAs. This gives him a tacit nod by the full block of Gownder MLAs to hold backroom talks with the BJP in New Delhi.
Interestingly, Thambidurai is also the key figure in the Sasikala faction to speak against her nephew TTV Dinakaran, now accused of grave corruption charges. Also, no AIADMK MLA is keen to go in for an early Tamil Nadu
assembly polls, which is why both factions are considering merger talks.
That is the kind of power Thambidurai wields now.