Buoyed by the turnout at his rally yesterday, a combative AIADMK (Amma) leader TTV Dhinakarantoday warned the party factions led by Chief Minister E K Palaniswami and O Pannerselvam to mend their ways or be prepared to be “mended”.
Seeking to reclaim his authority after the Palaniswami camp adopted a resolution on August 10 declaring Dhinakaran’s appointment as the party’s deputy general secretary as illegal, he had yesterday held an impressive rally at Melur near here which was attended by 19 MLAs and six MPs. Dhinakaran had said in April that he was “stepping aside” after the Palaniswami and Panneerselvam camps decided to initiate talks for merger of the two factions. Though a merger did not materialise then, there are indications of a thaw in their ties after the Palaniswami camp declared Dhinakaran’s appointment by his aunt and party general secretary V K Sasikala as illegal.
The Panneerselvam camp has already approached the Election Commission seeking annulment of the appointment of Dhinakaran and Sasikala. Sasikala is serving a prison term in a disproportionate assets case in which late chief minister J Jayalalithaa was the main accused. “They should mend their ways and come back to the party fold…or they will be mended,” Dhinakaran told reporters here after offering prayers at the Meenakshi temple.
Without naming Palaniswami or Panneerselvam, also a former chief minister who was ousted by Sasikala after Jayalalithaa’s death, Dhinakaran said they were “committing mistakes”. The rally, the first in a series announced by him for celebrating the birth centenary year of party founder M G Ramachandran (MGR), was seen as a show of strength by the Dhinakaran camp. Dhinakaran attacked Palaniswami, who is still with the AIADMK (Amma), saying he got the chief minister’s post onlybecause of Sasikala. Dhinakaran said the AIADMK was a strong party of 1.2crore cadres and all efforts would be made to strengthen it further. At yesterday’s rally, he had accused the Palaniswami camp of trying to oust him and “usurp” the party. He had vowed to reclaim the AIADMK’s ‘two leaves’ election symbol that was frozen following a split in the party.
Dhinakaran had appointed some new office bearers of the party a few days ago, in an apparent effort to reassert his authority after having announced his decision to step aside. Meanwhile, senior AIADMK (Amma) leader and Tamil Nadu minister K A Sengottaiyan today said the much-anticipated merger of the two factions of the ruling party could happen soon. “There is a chance of the two factions led by OPanneerselvam and chief minister (K Palaniswami) merging soon. You can expect that soon,” he told reporters in Chennai.