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Dinakaran gives in for ‘party’s sake’ as AIADMK factions prepare for merger

The AIADMK (Amma) deputy general secretary had earlier put on a brief show of resistance, and called for an emergency meeting of party MLAs and district secretaries to discuss the proposed merger of rival party factions on Wednesday afternoon.

tamil nadu Updated: Apr 29, 2017 07:27 IST
KV Lakshmana
KV Lakshmana
Hindustan Times, Chennai
TTV Dinakaran,AIADMK (Amma),AIADMK (Puratchi Thalavi Amma)
Dinakaran said he had asked MLAs who visited him on Tuesday evening to cooperate with other leaders for the larger good of the party.(PTI/ File photo)

AIADMK (Amma) deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran gave in to demands for his ouster from detractors in the party on Wednesday, telling mediapersons that he has already stepped aside.

He had earlier put on a brief show of resistance, and called for an emergency meeting of party MLAs and district secretaries to discuss the proposed merger of rival AIADMK factions on Wednesday afternoon.

“I am not worried about being sidelined,” Dinakaran said outside the Egmore court premises, where he was to make an appearance in connection with a FERA case at 3 pm. “In view of this, the meeting stands cancelled.”

The AIADMK (Amma) leader said he was keeping quiet in the interests of his party. “If it is helpful for the party, I will keep quiet. But, at the same time, they must safeguard the party and its government without fear,” he added.

Dinakaran said he had asked MLAs who visited him on Tuesday evening to cooperate with other leaders for the larger good of the party. When asked if he had already stepped down from his post, the beleaguered leader said: “I am the deputy general secretary, and the only person I have to give my resignation to is party general secretary VK Sasikala.”

He claimed to have no regrets regarding the party’s decision. ”I have not lost anything that I had. Within two months, I have worked to the expectations of the party cadre. You all know how they worked in RK Nagar. Many MLAs, cadres and office-bearers are calling me. I am keeping quiet just because I don’t want any problems in the party or the government,” Dinakaran said.

The leader, however, questioned the logic behind a 122-member party merging with a smaller group. “I am not against the merger, but there should be no conditions in this regard. If there are any conditions, it wouldn’t be proper,” he said.

When asked if he was being targeted by the BJP government at the Centre, Dinakaran laughed. “At best, they can put me behind bars. I will face it if that’s my destiny,” he replied.

The emerging political equations in the state may cast the Sasikala clan out of the AIADMK as well as the Tamil Nadu government. Though Dinakaran and his supporters tried to put up a defence in the beginning, they eventually found themselves caving in to popular demand.

Even as Dinakaran was speaking to mediapersons, a crucial meeting on the modalities of the merger was underway at the residence of former chief minister O Panneerselvam. Both the AIADMK (Puratchi Thalavi Amma) and AIADMK (Amma) factions, led by Panneerselvam and chief minister Edapaddi Palaniswami respectively, were preparing for merger talks till reports last came in.

The DMK also watched the developments closely, checking if there would be more instability in the ruling party for it to exploit. If Dinakaran’s followers execute their threat of walking away, the DMK can get a shot at assuming power because the magic figure now stands at 116 in the 234-member house.

While Pannerselvam camp claims the support of 122 MLAs, Panneerselvam has 12. The DMK and its allies have the support of 98 MLAs.

Only eight MLAs participated in the meeting at Dinakaran’s residence on Tuesday night, indicating his dwindling hold over the ruling party.

Panneerselvam, meanwhile, expressed happiness over the ouster of the Sasikala clan from a position of power in the AIADMK (Amma). “One family cannot be allowed to take over Tamil Nadu. This is the first victory of dharmayudh,” he said in a statement.

A committee will be formed to iron out differences between the two rival groups as they attempt to carry forward the merger process.

First Published: Apr 19, 2017 12:50 IST