Tamil Nadu ministers revolt against Sasikala, Dinakaran; some loyalists back AIADMK general secretary
An influential section of Sasikala loyalists led by Chief Minister EK Palaniswami on Tuesday revolted against the AIADMK general secretary.
Chennai: In a big development, an influential section of Sasikala loyalists led by Chief Minister EK Palaniswami on Tuesday revolted against the AIADMK general secretary, resolving to 'delink' the party and the government from her family.
"There was a consensus to delink the government and the party from TTV Dinakaran and the family he belongs to. This is the view of the basic partymen, district secretaries, MLAs and Ministers," Finance Minister D Jayakumar told reporters after a "consultative" meeting chaired by Palaniswami and attended by several ministers.
Dinakaran is deputy general secretary of AIADMK (Amma) faction.
"To put it directly, it is the desire of people and party workers that Dinakaran and his family should be sidelined," Jayakumar said.
He added, "It has been decided to lead the party and government sans Dinakaran and his family and today the aspirations of people and party workers have been fulfilled and we are announcing this to them."
A committee will be formed soon to run the day-to-day affairs of the party, he said.
However, Sattur MLA SG Subramanian, told reporters that Dinakaran was their leader and the party deputy general secretary. The legislators were bound only by his directions, he said.
Earlier in the day, two other MLAs P Vetrivel and Andipatti legislator Thanga Tamil Selvan had voiced support for Dinakaran.
In the Tamil Nadu Assembly, Sasikala faction earlier enjoyed the support of 122 MLAs and Panneerselvam 12. However, the present tally is not clear.
The development came on a day when Panneerselvam, a staunch loyalist of the late CM J Jayalalithaa and leader of the rival AIADMK faction, made merger talks between the two camps conditional to the ouster of Sasikala and her nephew.
Though Panneerselvam commanded the support of just about 12 of the party's 134 MLAs, there has been public anger among the AIADMK supporters who hold Sasikala responsible for Jayalalithaa's conviction in a disproportionate assets case.
She hitherto had the backing of the majority in both the party organisation and among the legislators.
Meanwhile, mooting a patch-up with Panneerselvam, senior party leader M Thambidurai today said it will be in the party's interest if both factions merge to take forward the legacy of late Jayalalitha.
Ruling out any change of CM in the state for this possible patch up, Thambidurai said people from the opposing faction may be included in the organisation.
"I have initiated talks with the Panneerselvam camp. We all want to continue the legacy of late Amma and at the same time want to save the party's symbol of two leaves. So in this largest interest, I think both factions should come together," he said here, adding this is what party workers also want, as per PTI.
Last month, the Election Commission had frozen the 'two leaves' symbol of the AIADMK as part of its interim order.
Both AIADMK factions led by Panneerselvam and Sasikala respectively were asked to come up with new party names as well as party symbols.
Sasikala is in jail in connection with the DA case in which Jayalalithaa was the main accused.
In a related development, the Delhi Police had booked Dinakaran yesterday for allegedly trying to bribe an Election Commission official for obtaining the party symbol for his faction following the arrest of an alleged middleman.
Dinakaran, who is a nephew of VK Sasikala has denied the allegation against him, calling it false.
The crime branch of the Delhi police has claimed that Dinakaran was trying to ensure that his party was allotted the AIADMK poll symbol of two leaves for the RK Nagar bypolls.
The bypolls to the RK Nagar Assembly constituency was scheduled for April 12, but the EC cancelled it, saying the electoral process had been "seriously vitiated" by parties through the use of money power.
The bypoll was necessitated following the death of Jayalalithaa on December 5.
Dhinakaran was the candidate of the Sasikala faction.
(With Agency inputs)