A group of ministers has suggested Tamil Nadu’s ruling AIADMK deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran to step down. Multiple sources said that the suggestion was made “to save the party” when the ministers met him on Friday. The group cited the Centre’s wrath that the party was facing since Sasikala’s family took over AIADMK’s control to make the suggestion.
A minister pleaded anonymity and said that half-a-dozen ministers met Dinakaran and supported the idea. School education minister K A Sengottaiyan tried to pacify his colleagues, P Thangamani, S P Velumani and D Jayakumar, when they made the suggestion.
Sources said that Velumani was the first to raise the topic. “Others supported the idea while Sengottaiyan was seen pacifying them,” said a minister. “We told him (Dinakaran) that central agencies are targeting the party due to his leadership. We listed out a number of examples, including how the Centre had revived FERA and other pending cases against him immediately after he was given the control of the party. If this is going to continue, we will lose the party and the symbol too.’’
Another minister said that the exchanges at Friday’s meeting did not have tonality of demand or conflict. “But what we suggested him was to step down for the time being. When the family can very well control the party like earlier, we suggested him to guide us from behind the scenes,’’ the minister said.
Dinakaran reportedly told the ministers that he never wanted to take any party post. “He said he was all alone for the past 15 years, and that he was not interested in party affairs too,” said a minister. “You requested Chinnamma (AIADMK chief Sasikala) to come forward and lead the party after Amma’s (J Jayalalithaa)’s death. When she got convicted, it was she who gave me this responsibility. I will discuss this issue with Chinnamma on Tuesday (in Bengaluru prison) and take a decision,” Dinakaran reportedly told the ministers.
Dinakaran on Saturday denied reports that the ministers had asked him to step down. “Did not you see them (ministers) greeting me? All ministers who were in Chennai had come to meet me to exchange greetings (on Tamil new year day on Friday),” he told journalists. He said that there were discussions on many issues. “There were heated exchanges of words like any discussion attended by some 20 people,” he said. Dinakaran criticised BJP at the Centre and called the cancellation of RK Nagar bypoll a conspiracy.