The O Panneerselvam-led AIADMK faction today rejected the call by the rival group’s deputy chief TTV Dhinakaran to the rebels to return to the “parent party”, saying he was “persona non-grata” (person not appreciated) for them. Leaders in the Puratchi Thalaivi Amma camp said such a possibility does not exist as long as Dhinakaran, deputy general secretary of AIADMK Amma, continued to helm the faction.
“He (Dhinakaran) is a person who is not in the party and that is the truth,” a top leader, close to former chief minister Panneerselvam, said.
Dhinakaran was readmitted into the party and appointed deputy general secretary by its general secretary and his aunt VK Sasikala on February 15, hours before she left for surrendering in a Bengaluru court to serve the jail term in the disproportionate assets case.
The Panneerselvam camp, which has been questioning Dhinakaran’s locus standi to helm the party, also made it one of the highlights of its campaign in the April 12 RK Nagar bypoll, which was cancelled by the Election Commission over alleged use of money power.
Dhinakaran was the candidate of AIADMK Amma in the bypoll, which was necessitated by the demise of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. The rebel camp has refused to accept his leadership, saying he was expelled from the party in 2011 by Jayalalithaa for “anti-party” activities and the expulsion remained in force till her death.
On the possibility of both the factions coming together, a leader of the Panneerselvam camp told PTI, “What can I say about something that is not going to happen.” He ruled out any talk or exchange of feelers between the camps.
Another senior leader too ruled out any patch-up formula with Dhinakaran being a part of it. “Good things should happen with our leader Panneerselvam at the helm,” he said.
Replying to a question, he said the “good thing” will be the “unification” of the party “without that family (Sasikala and her extended family, including Dhinakaran)”. For the past two days, Dhinakaran has been inviting the rebel camp members to come back to the parent party.
“We are prepared to welcome back those who left the parent party if they realise their mistake,” he had said in an obvious reference to Panneerselvam and his followers.
On April 14, Dhinakran had also rubbished claims that some ministers had revolted against him.
Meanwhile, former MLA and Coimbatore Mayor T Malaravan today joined the Panneerselvam camp, quitting the Peravai led by Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa.