No revolt against me, no demand for sacking minister: Dhinakaran
Rallying behind embattled Tamil Nadu Minister C Vijayabaskar, AIADMK (Amma) faction leader TTV Dhinakaran today said no demand has been made by Chief Minister K Palaniswami or his colleagues to drop him.
Chennai: Rallying behind embattled Tamil Nadu Minister C Vijayabaskar, AIADMK (Amma) faction leader TTV Dhinakaran today said no demand has been made by Chief Minister K Palaniswami or his colleagues to drop him.
Dhinakaran also termed as 'rumours' the reports of a revolt against him by some ministers and ruled out any immediate shakeup in the two-month old Palaniswamy cabinet.
"There is no such information, it could be a rumour," he said.
The AIADMK (Amma) deputy general secretary's comments came amid reports in a section of media that Palaniswami and some other ministers wanted the Health Minister Vijayabaskar to be dropped following the Income Tax searches at his premises here and in Pudukottai.
The IT searches against Vijayabaskar, a Dhinakaran's loyalist, and against actor-politician R Sarath Kumar of AISMK, an AIADMK ally, has prompted the opposition to mount a strong attack on the ruling dispensation.
DMK Working President M K Stalin has petitioned Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao seeking dismissal of Palaniswami and Vijayabaskar, whose names were reportedly linked to money distribution to voters before the now-cancelled R K Nagar Assembly bypoll.
Election Commission had cancelled the April 12 polls, necessitated due to of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's demise, citing use of money power in the constituency here.
The AIADMK deputy general secretary, who is steering the party in absence of the jailed party chief and his aunt V K Sasikala, also indicated all was well in the party.
"He (Vijayabaskar) has said there is no mistake on his part. Opposition parties will keep making demands (for his sacking). When there is no mistake on his part, how can he be removed (from the cabinet)?" Dhinakaran asked reporters.
Vijayabaskar was at the forefront of handling poll campaign for Dhinakaran, the party's candidate, in the bypoll.
Dhinakaran asked whether the minister can be axed from the cabinet just because IT searches had been conducted at his premises.
Asked if Palaniswami had discussed about Vijayabaskar's continuation in his cabinet, Dhinakaran shot back saying "there is nothing to discuss."
"They came and searched his place and there is no material evidence (against the minister)," he claimed.
On reports in section of media that Palaniswami and some other ministers wanted Vijayabaskar to be removed in view of the IT searches, Dhinakaran said, "There is nothing like that."
The searches on the premises of one of the minister's associate last week allegedly revealed routing of Rs 89 crore for "distribution among voters" in the RK Nagar assembly constituency.
When asked about the purpose of senior AIADMK ministers converging at his house today and whether it was some kind of an "emergency meeting," Dhinakaran said they had called on him to wish for the Tamil New year. "We discussed many issues."
One of the issues that came up today for discussion was the rival O Panneerselvam faction challenging Sasikala's appointment as general secretary before the EC, he said.
The ruling party had suffered a vertical split after the death of AIADMK General Secretary J Jayalalithaa in December last, following which her close aide Sasikala was appointed as the party chief.
Former Chief Minister Panneerselvam, however, revolted against Sasikala in February this year alleging he was forced to make way for her to become chief minister.
AIADMK subsequently suffered a split with some MPs and MLAs joining the Panneerselvam camp even as Chief Minister Palaniswami, a Sasikala loyalist, survived a confidence vote in the state assembly in February.
Sasikala is serving a jail term in the Rs 66 crore disproportionate assets case in Bengaluru.