Will Sasikala and Dinakaran find a place in AIADMK merger plan?
By Rob 0
Chennai: The late-night developments on Monday put an end to speculation and confirmed that the warring factions of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) were heading for a merger.
But the impending question at this stage is—will AIADMK general secretary V.K. Sasikala who is serving a sentence in a disproportionate assets case and her nephew and deputy general secretary T.T.V. Dinakaran be removed from the party?
On Tuesday morning, former chief minister O. Panneerselvam, while talking to reporters from Theni district, asserted that the expulsion of Sasikala, Dinakaran and other family members was necessary for the merger of the AIADMK.
“This is not a precondition. These are the basic policies of the AIADMK and the party cannot be controlled by one family,” he said.
Panneerselvam also reiterated that Sasikala’s appointment as the general secretary was against the by-laws of the party. “Hence, the appointments or removals that she made stand invalid.”
Dinakaran, who has been facing the heat in the last few weeks over speculations that he has been asked to step down by senior leaders in his camp had to contend with a fresh set of trouble on Monday, when the Delhi police filed an FIR against him for allegedly trying to bribe the Election Commission (EC) officials with Rs50 crore in exchange for the party’s two leaves symbol.
On Tuesday morning, minister K. A. Sengottaiyan, after holding discussions with Dinakaran, said, “We briefed Dinakaran about yesterday’s (Monday’s) discussions. We will take all efforts to stay united and reclaim the party’s symbol.”
Dinakaran was away in Bengaluru on Monday to meet Sasikala who is lodged in a prison there. Leaders in the Sasikala camp have been non-committal to questions related to the resignation of Sasikala and Dinakaran.
Panneerselvam had in February rebelled against Sasikala, alleging that he was forced to resign so that she becomes the chief minister of the state. Since then, the ruling party of Tamil Nadu has been in disarray, with the party divided into two factions.
“We are ready for merger. But no one has approached us,” Panneerselvam said on Monday.
Lok Sabha deputy speaker and AIADMK MP M. Thambidurai welcomed Panneerselvam’s comment. “We are united and there is no split in the party. There is only difference of opinion,” said Thambidurai, after meeting Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami at the secretariat.
Hours after this, ministers of the ruling party held late-night discussions and confirmed to the reporters that they were also in favour of a merger of the two warring factions.
“We welcome Panneerselvam’s statement regarding the merger. Discussions were held regarding this,” said D. Jayakumar, minister for finance and fisheries.
Jayakumar said the leaders discussed filing affidavits to the EC to retrieve the party’s “two leaves” symbol, which was frozen by the EC following the factional feud. “We will stay united to get back the two leaves symbol.”
Regarding the continuation of Sasikala and Dinakaran in their respective posts in the party, Jayakumar said, “We didn’t decide anything related to that. We will discuss after Dinakaran’s return from Bengaluru.”
First Published: Tue, Apr 18 2017. 02 18 PM IST