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TTV Dhinakaran’s new political party will be yet another jolt for TN’s ruling-AIADMK govt

It is to be seen if TTV Dhinakaran can replicate his RK Nagar victory elsewhere in Tamil Nadu, and if he does, he will emerge as an important force in the state — and that’s bad news for the AIADMK

editorials Updated: Mar 13, 2018 13:58 IST
Hindustan Times
TTV Dhinakaran arrives to attend the assembly session, Chennai, January 8(PTI)

All roads on Tamil Nadu’s political map lead to Madurai, the temple city seen by many as the cultural and political capital of the state. At 9 am on Thursday, March 15, RK Nagar MLA and rebel AIADMK leader, TTV Dhinakaran, will launch a new political party, and unveil the party name and symbol. Mr Dhinakaran, a former deputy general secretary of the AIADMK, said in a statement that the aim of his party would be to “retrieve the AIADMK from the clutches of traitors”.

Following the death of former chief minister, J Jayalalithaa, on December 5, 2016, VK Sasikala was elected general secretary, and Mr Dhinakaran, her nephew, was made her deputy. However, the AIADMK split following a revolt by former chief minister and AIADMK leader, O Panneerselvam. Both Sasikala and her nephew were expelled from the party after the OPS and Edappadi Palaniswami factions of the AIADMK merged. The December 21 bypoll to the RK Nagar assembly seat, left vacant after Jayalalithaa’s death, came to be perceived as the fight over Jaya’s legacy and the AIADMK’s future. Mr Dhinakaran won this battle, amid reports of widespread voter-bribing.

The RK Nagar defeat started the process of relegating the ruling AIADMK to the margins of Tamil Nadu politics. Now, with the end of an AIADMK-DMK two-party electoral dynamic seen in the state for more than four decades, many people have sensed an opportunity to occupy the vacuum left behind by Jaya. Actors Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan have announced their political entries and are in different stages of gathering momentum for their new parties. But it is Mr Dhinakaran who is the leading contender — at least for the moment. This is because he has a well-organised political network in place and is familiar with the alleyways of Dravidian politics. Above all, he is said to have the backing of at least 22 MLAs, including the 18 who were disqualified by the TN assembly speaker.

It is to be seen if Mr Dhinakaran can replicate his RK Nagar victory elsewhere in Tamil Nadu. If he does, he will emerge as an important force in the state — and that’s bad news for the AIADMK.

First Published: Mar 13, 2018 13:42 IST