Free Press Journal

AIADMK dilemma: To save or jettison Dhinakaran


The AIADMK in Tamil Nadu does not seem to know what it stands for and what it wants. While the O. Panneerselvam faction of the party is fighting a no-holds-barred battle against late J. Jayalalithaa’s protégé V.K. Sasikala’s family, the ruling Edapaddi Palaniswami faction alternates between shielding Sasikala’s nephew T.T. V. Dhinakaran and jettisoning him. Dhinakaran himself is no pushover. He flexes his muscles when he finds himself cornered and has an estimated 20 legislators under his belt with the substantial money and muscle power that he wields.

This time around, the flashpoint is the appointment of Dhinakaran as party deputy general secretary by Sasikala before she was jailed for holding assets disproportionate to her known sources of income.  Describing the recent appointments made by Dhinakaran as not permissible as per rules of the party, a resolution adopted at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Palaniswami stated that Dhinakaran’s decisions would not be binding on the party members.

Indeed, Chief Minister Palaniswami is torn between pressures for merger of his and Panneerselvam’s factions on which the Narendra Modi government at the Centre is evidently keen, and counter-pressures from Sasikala and Dhinakaran who still control substantially the purse-strings of the party. “TTV Dhinakaran’s appointment as deputy general secretary on February 15, 2017 after his expulsion from the party by our then general secretary Jayalalithaa on December 19, 2011, is illegal as it is against the party law 30(V),” the resolution said belatedly on Wednesday.

Twentyseven functionaries of the party, including senior ministers of the Palaniswami government attended the meeting at which the resolution was passed. Quite predictably, the Sasikala clan is angry over the resolution and is leaving no stone unturned to get it reversed even as Panneerselvam pitches for its implementation along with their demand that Sasikala too be divested of a role in the new scheme of things. How long this tug of war would continue is anybody’s guess.