Free Press Journal

Dhinakaran steps aside, AIADMK merger talks back on track


Chennai: After being upstaged in a late-night political coup by senior party leaders led by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, the AIADMK (Amma) deputy general secretary, TTV Dhinakaran, on Wednesday said he had already “stepped aside” from the party instead of going on the offensive.

On Tuesday night, after a meeting of ministers and senior leaders at Palaniswami’s house, Finance Minister D Jayakumar announced that they had decided to “completely sideline” the Sasikala family, including her nephew Dhinakaran, from the affairs of the party and the government.

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While eight MLAs rushed to Dhinakaran’s house to express solidarity, he decided to step aside. “I have already distanced myself from the party on Tuesday. The ministers are acting out of fear (an obvious reference to the recent Income Tax searches). I will not do anything that would affect the unity of the party,” Dhinakaran said.

“I think he got the message that the party is no longer with him. On Wednesday when he went to the Egmore court to attend proceedings in a FERA case, very few supporters had turned up. This was in sharp contrast to his appearance during previous court hearings when he would wade through dozens of party cadres, albeit arranged by loyalists. It must have been clear to him that the game was up and there was no point holding on,” said a political observer.

Meanwhile, former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and leader of the AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma), who had broken ranks with Sasikala in February, hailed the decision of the ministers. “This is the first victory in our battle for justice,” he said.