(Panneerselvam toughens stance on merger as noose around Dinakaran tightens)
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
Even as the AIADMK merger efforts are in full swing some Sasikala-Dinakaran backers oppose the merger move and as before find faults with former CM O. Panneerselvam not supporting their jailed small-amma (Chinnamma) to assume power as Tamil Nadu CM and control Jayalithaa’s assets. .
Dinakaran, the nephew of jailed AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala, is facing a revolt by an influential section of the party led by Palaniswamy and a host of ministers, who declared the ouster of the once powerful aunt-nephew duo, and extended a hand of friendship to the Panneerselvam camp.
The influential section of Ministers revolted against Dinakaran and decided to keep AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala and him out of the party. According to ‘Jaya Plus‘ Tamil TV channel, Dinakaran said a “good decision” will be taken in the interest of the party. Party sources indicated that he was expected to appear at the Economic Offences court in Chennai on a case against him for alleged violation of FERA regulations. However, he skipped the court hearing citing the death of a relative. The court accepted his plea and scheduled the next hearing on 24th April.
Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker and AIADMK leader M Thambidurai also called on Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, in an apparent effort to merge the two factions of AIADMK. Tamil Nadu Finance and Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar also met Rao. While the efforts for the merger are in full-swing, O Panneerselvam camp toughened their stand demanding Sasikala’s resignation and calling for a CBI probe into Jayalalithaa’s death.
On Wednesday, isolated in his party, AIADMK deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran threw in the towel and “stepped aside” to pave the way for a merger of rival factions led by Tamil Nadu chief minister EK Palaniswamy and his predecessor O Panneerselvam.
Dinakaran, who had on Wednesday convened a meeting of the MLAs backing him, called it off at the last moment, apparently because his supporters were outnumbered by those arrayed against him.
Senior ministers including D Jayakumar and KA Sengottaiyan, who chairs the AIADMK presidium and had hitherto sided with Dinakaran, had questioned the beleaguered leader’s locus standi to convene a meeting of legislators and the party’s district secretaries.
Seeking to avoid any confrontation, Dinakaran said he had “stepped aside” last night itself “in the interest of the party”. “I myself would have announced it (of keeping away from the party) if they had told me about their decision,” he said, referring to last night’s revolt.
Though the Palaniswamy and Panneerselvam camps have shown inclination for the merger of the two factions, there have not been any direct talks between them so far.
Although the ministers under the CM Palanisamy took a bold decision to oust Sasikala and Dinakaran from the AIADMK, they have not made any further move to let these shrewd Mannargudi elements claim any association with the ruling party.
Apparently, the move to oust Sasikala was essentially to get the party symbol Two-leaves back from the election commission and as such the OPS faction does not think the ruling MLAs are really sincere about unity of the party people to secure the government. Hence they demand the ruling faction to secure resignation letters from the Sasikala, Dinakaran and entire family now controlling the party and government. In other words, the party should be freed from the Sasikala control mechanisms now or in future. Otherwise unity move would be farce and won’t work. .
Meanwhile, a Delhi police team came to Chennai to conduct enquiries about Dinakaran’s involvement in bribing someone in Delhi to get back the party symbol. He has also been asked to appear before the Crime Branch of Delhi Police on Saturday in a case of alleged bribery to EC officials for retrieving the party’s ‘two leaves’ symbol. On Wednesday night, the Delhi Police had served summons to him in the case. He has been directed to report to the Delhi police for investigation immediately but he has asked for 3 days. As a beleaguered AIADMK leader and Sasikala’s nephew TTV Dinakaran, asserting that all party MLAs stood behind him, said none in the party were against him.
Dinakaran, who is facing trouble on multiple fronts, including from the Delhi police which has booked him for allegedly trying to bribe an Election Commission official to clinch the ‘two-leaves’ symbol of the party, frozen by the poll panel, for his faction, also said he had no issues with the rival camps merging together. He, however, claimed the rebellion against him was out of “fear”. “They (ministers) might have done this (revolt) due to some fear. Maybe there was some dissatisfaction against me. But I don’t know,” he told reporters.
He was apparently referring to the possible angst in the party following income tax raids at Health Minister C Vijayabaskar’s premises ahead of the assembly bypoll to the RK Nagar seat which was countermanded following allegations of bribing and inducement of voters. Dinakaran was the party’s nominee for the election. ” When they make such sudden announcement there must be some fear,” he said, adding, the revolt was a decision made in a “hurry”.
Dinakaran, however, made it clear that since it was Sasikala who had appointed him to the post, he would decide on the next course of action only after meeting her. He wondered why there was the question of his resignation when he had already “stepped aside”.
Meanwhile, Panneerselvam, a staunch loyalist of the late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, described the revolt against the Sasikala family as the “first success” of his “dharma yuddh” (holy war). Panneerselvam said he had launched the “dharma yuddh” with the help of his supporters, including MPs and MLAs, in an effort to ensure that the AIADMK did not go into hands of Sasikala’s family.
Panneerselvam had filled-in for Jayalalithaa as Chief Minister thrice in the past, twice when she had to go to jail in corruption cases and once when she was on her death bed. He had claimed he was coerced to step down by Sasikala after Jayalalithaa’s death.
Dinakaran, against whom the Delhi police has issued a lookout notice for allegedly trying to bribe an Election Commission official, said he had no intention to fight with people who are like his “brothers.” “I will never go against the AIADMK,” he said.
He, however, insisted the appointment of Sasikala and himself to the top party posts was made with the “consent” of others and that none was “bypassed”.
He indicated Sasikala has not yet been apprised of the developments. “How can someone inside the jail be informed,” he asked.
When asked if he was being “targeted” by way of Income Tax raids on Health Minister C Vijayabaskar and countermanding of the 12 April RK Nagar bypoll, he responded with a terse “maybe.”
Putting up a brave face, he said he will tackle the situation. “They can maximum put me behind bars. If that is my destiny, I will face it and come out,” he added.
A powerful section of the ruling AIADMK (Amma) had last night risen in revolt against Sasikala-Dinakaran leadership, and said they had resolved to “delink” the party and the government from them.
The surprise development had come on a day when Panneerselvam made the merger talks between the two camps contingent upon the ruling AIADMK faction ejecting Sasikala and Dinakaran, who is standing-in for his jailed aunt.
AIADMK leader and state Finance Minister D Jayakumar on announced that Sasikala and Dinakaran would be ‘delinked’ from the party.
A day after the ouster of VK Sasikala and her nephew Dinakaran from the AIADMK, O Panneerselvam said that it was a first victory of their faction. Addressing the media, Panneerselvam said, “This is our faction’s first victory that Sasikala and her family have been ousted from the party. Both factions will talk to fulfill the aspirations of lakhs of party workers.”
Meanwhile, Dinakaran has said that he has no problem with the possible merger of AIADMK factions if it benefits the party. He also added that the revolt against him could have been due to some fears. “I have stepped aside in the interest of the party, so the question of resigning doesn’t arise.” However, he added that he would have to consult with Sasikala on resigning as she had appointed him as the Deputy General Secretary of the party. Dinakaran has called for a meeting of MLAs and District Secretaries at the party’s headquarter in Royapettah in Chennai.
However, AIADMK leader M. Thambidurai has called for unity in the party, saying that if all leaders would come together, then it would strengthen the party. “It’s not a sudden development, it’s going on for a long time. We have to come together and have to be united. We need to unite this party so that Amma’s ideology may move forward,” he said.
Pannerselvam is the only leader the AIADMK leader Jayalithaa trusted and that explains why the party people and Tamils in general approve of candidature of Pannerselvam to be the CM and party supremo to lead the party, government and state to success. People view Palanisamy as the proxy of Sasikala and her chief agent in the government, although he is a changing man today to throw Sasikala and her nephew out of AIADMK.
Divisions in the AIADMK are real. Both factions must stop criticizing one another and try to be members of one party. Sasikala has done the harm to the party and government of Jayalithaa by her political mischief and now the factions must take steps to mend ways so that party is not gone sooner than later.
Meanwhile, with the political fiasco in Tamil Nadu getting murkier by the day, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) hit out at the ruling AIADMK saying that its leaders are making a mockery of every authority that exists.
AIADMK should be united as quickly as possible to serve the people.
Even as AIADMK politics in Tamil Nadu making twists, the Supreme Court has pronounced its verdict and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is sitting pretty. But not many know that it was the country’s premiere agency itself which had dropped the criminal conspiracy charge under section 120-B of the IPC against Advani and others while submitting a supplementary charge sheet in May 2003 before Rae Bareli Special CBI Court.