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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

AIADMK acts against Dhinakaran loyalists: Four lose party positions, five booted out

Among those sacked from party positions are district unit secretaries P Vetrivel and Sholingur Partiban, both considered Dhinakaran loyalists.

india Updated: Dec 25, 2017 18:15 IST
KV Lakshmana
KV Lakshmana
Chennai, Hindustan Times
AIADMK leader T V Dhinakaran after winning RK Nagar constituency bypoll, in Chennai.
AIADMK leader T V Dhinakaran after winning RK Nagar constituency bypoll, in Chennai.(PTI Photo)

A day after it was humiliated in the RK Nagar assembly bypoll, the ruling AIADMK on Monday relieved four office-bearers of party positions and sacked five for supporting rebel leader TTV Dhinakaran, who won the prestigious election.

Dhinakaran won RK Nagar, the constituency of late Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, by defeating his nearest rival, E Madhusudhanan, of the AIADMK by 40,707 votes.

The decision against the nine office-bearers was taken during a meeting chaired by chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam to review the bypoll result.

“Whoever betrays the party, will be dealt with harshly,” the chief minister told mediapersons after the meeting.

The CM, who was accompanied by his deputy, said there was a secret pact between the opposition DMK and Dhinakaran to destabilise the party.

“Don’t forget that it was Dhinakaran who greeted Stalin and Kanimozhi after court verdict that acquitted the DMK leaders in the 2G spectrum scam case,” Panneerselvam said.

MK Stalin is the working president of the DMK, which to everyone’s surprise couldn’t even manage a sixth of the votes polled in the north Chennai constituency and its candidate lost the deposit.

Among those sacked from party positions are district unit secretaries P Vetrivel, NG Partiban, M Rengaswamy and Thanga Tamilselvan.

VP Kalairajan, V Muthaiah, V Pghalendi and spokespersons Nazhil Sampath and CR Sarawathi were thrown out for anti-party activities, Palaniswami and Panneerselvam said in a joint statement.

RK Nagar defeat is the first time that a ruling party has lost a bypoll in the southern state since 1990. The defeat has put a question mark over the longevity of the government as several MLAs are said to be in touch with Dhinakaran.

The bypoll had to be called after the death of Jayalalithaa, also the AIADMK supremo, on December 5 last year. Riven by factionalism ever since, the AIADMK is yet to stablise. Dhinakaran, who is a nephew of Jayalalithaa aide Sasikala, laid claim to the late CM’s legacy after the win.

He was left out in the cold after Palaniswami and Panneerselvam joined hands after a prolonged spell of infighting to keep Sasikala and her group at bay. Sasikala is serving time in a corruption case.

Dhinakaran’s win is a second wind for the Sasikala faction and Monday’s sackings are being seen as a message to Dhinakaran supporters to fall in line. More people could face a similar action, sources said.

“Don’t call it a defeat repeatedly. I have also fought elections and have won many and lost some. They won this election by cheating people,” Palaniswami said.

Panneerselvam said there was no cause for concern. The result didn’t pose a threat to the government or the AIADMK, he said. “Everyone knows there was a secret pact between the DMK and Dhinakaran to destabilise the government, which will not be allowed,” he said.

Kalairaj, who was removed as a district chief, told a television channel the CM and his deputy didn’t have the authority to remove any office-bearer.

“We have general secretary Sasikala and deputy general secretary Dhinakaran. The people have given their verdict as to which is the real AIADMK,” he said.

The DMK has called a meeting of its high-level strategy committee on Friday, party general secretary K Anbazhagan said, without elaborating on the agenda.

First Published: Dec 25, 2017 14:53 IST