CHENNAI: The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) continued its crackdown on the rebel TTV Dhinakaran camp by sacking his nine supporters on Tuesday.
Stung by the bypoll defeat, the ruling AIADMK removed nine party supporters of Dhinakaran, who recently took oath as MLA from RK Nagar constituency.
Dhinakaran had recently secured a vigorous win in RK Nagar bypoll by defeating its candidate E Madhusudhanan by a margin of over 40,000 votes.The RK Nagar constituency went to polls on December 21, necessitated by the death of former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa in December last year.
Dhinakaran, sidelined by the ruling camp (EPS-OPS) a few months ago, contested the election as an independent candidate on a 'pressure cooker' symbol.
On December 29, the AIADMK had sacked nearly 130 functionaries in Tiruppur, Dharmapuri and Pudukottai districts on charges of bringing disrepute to the party.
Such action was triggered after the party’s candidate was defeated in the RK Nagar by-poll.
"At this rate, they need to expel all 1.5 crore AIADMK supporters who are behind us," said Dhinakaran in response to a question on sacking of his supporters.
Those who faced the action included R Samy, a former MLA from Melur in Madurai and a staunch supporter of Dhinakaran.
In a joint statement, O Panneerselvam and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Palanisamy named the functionaries, holding various posts including membership to the powerful decision making General Council and covering the AIADMK units in Madurai, Villupuram, Dharmapuri, Tiruchirappalli and Perambalur among others.
They were being "removed" since they went against the party's principles and brought "disrepute" to the AIADMK, the two leaders said in the statement.
"Party workers are requested not to have any truck with them," Palanisamy, also the Chief Minister, and his deputy Panneerselvam, said in the statement.
Putting up a brave face in wake of the bypoll loss, Palaniswami said action will be taken against those who "betrayed" AIADMK.
"Action will be certainly taken against all those who betrayed AIADMK," he told reporters after a meeting to analyse the defeat.
Panneerselvam, who was also present at the press meet, issued a similar warning.
Palaniswami reaffirmed that the rival camp won due to a "tacit understanding" with the DMK.
He asked how the DMK, which polled about 57,000-odd votes in the 2016 Assembly polls, could get only around 24,000 votes this time.
Former chief minister J Jayalalithaa had won he seat last year, defeating Shimla Muthuchozhan of DMK by about 35,000 votes.