O Panneerselvam, the former chief minister edged out of the hot seat by party chief VK Sasikala before she went to a Bengaluru jail to serve her four year jail for corruption, had never been a fan of Sasikala's nephew Mr Dinakaran.
But in the 24 weeks that E Palanisamy, chosen by Mr Dinakaran and his aunt to be their proxy, has learnt to assert his independence.
Over the last few months, Chief Minister Palanisamy has consolidated his hold among legislators and ministers. Many of the 40-odd lawmakers who initially stood with Mr Dinakaran have been turning their back on him. That is one reason why the sidelined deputy general secretary chose to ignore that a 60-day deadline he had set to enter the party headquarters ended on Friday.
It was a symbolic gesture to signal that he was leading the party in his aunt's absence. Instead, Mr Dinakaran addressed a press conference a short distance from the party office, spoke of touring the entire state, evaded every question on his visit to the headquarters but insisted he was the party's boss.
In an interview to NDTV, Mr Dinakaran later denied that his support base was dwindling.
"You'd have seen 40 MLAs coming here. Many others are in touch with me and would come here whenever there is a necessity... All are my friends," he told NDTV.
"Under the leadership of the Chief Minister both the government and the party are functioning very well," Finance Minister D Jayakumar said.
It isn't that Mr Dinakaran isn't trying.
He has appointed about 20 lawmakers to various positions in the party to keep them on his side.
Party sources told NDTV that most influential party leaders and ministers were uncomfortable to be identified too closely with Mr Dinakaran. Though AIADMK matriarch Jayalalithaa had expelled Dinakaran, Sasikala brought him back after she took charge of the party following Ms Jayalalithaa's death in December last year.
Mr Dinakaran - who is said to have chief ministerial ambitions - had tried to get himself elected from Chennai's R K Nagar constituency. But the election was called off following widespread corruption allegations. He was later also arrested for trying to bribe election commission officials to retrieve the two leaves symbol and spent time in jail.
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