Chennai : Taking the sting out of attempts to oust the family members of jailed leader Sasikala from the ruling AIADMK (Amma), her nephew T.T.V. Dhinakaran on Monday displayed a massive show of strength at a public rally in Madurai and declared that he was in favour of a probe into former CM Jayalalithaa’s death as he or Sasikala had nothing to fear.

Dhinakaran got the support of 20 MLAs and six MPs at the rally attended by thousands of cheering cadres. The public meeting that was organised to celebrate the birth centenary of party founder M.G. Ramachandran turned out to be a platform for Dhinakaran to send out a loud message to Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami that the price of ignoring him could be huge.

Last week, Palaniswami and his supporters got a resolution passed in the AIADMK to scrap Dhinakaran’s appointment as deputy general-secretary by Sasikala.

By dumping Dhinakaran, the Chief Minister was extending an olive branch to rebel leader O. Panneerselvam, who had accused Sasikala and her family of forcing him out of the chief ministership. Since then, he has demanded the expulsion of Sasikala family from the AIADMK and sought a probe into Jayalalithaa’s death.

Dhinakaran made it clear at the public meeting that if the ministers did not behave, he knew how to tame them. He declared that the chief minister himself was in his seat only because of Sasikala. The huge crowd cheered every word of Dhinakaran.

Considering that the Edappadi Palaniswami government is surviving on a wafer thin majority of eight MLAs (including two who had switched over from the Panneerselvam camp), even if a merger with the rebel faction of the AIADMK happens, he would get the support of only 10 additional MLAs. And if Dhinakaran’s 20 MLAs pull the plug it could be the end of the game for Palaniswami in the 233-member House where the Opposition has 98 MLAs.

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