A week after former AIADMK MLA and Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) chief T T V Dhinakaran’s close aide Thanga Tamilselvan joined the DMK, Issaki Subbaiah, another leader from the Dhinakaran camp, is set to make his way out of the year-old party – to join the AIADMK.
Subbaiah, who was a former minister in AIADMK government and is an influential leader, was organising secretary in Dhinakaran’s party. According to Subbiah, he will join AIADMK in the presence of Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Saturday. “I wanted to make it happen with 10,000 people,” he said, “but now I realise that the crowd will be bigger.”
Arrangements are being made at his native town near Tirunelveli for a massive public rally on Saturday for the formal switchover.
E Rathinasabapathy, one of the three dissident AIADMK MLAs, is also likely to desert AMMK and join the ruling party the same day.
Rathinasabapathy announced the decision on Tuesday evening and thanked state Health Minister C Vijayabaskar for facilitating his “homecoming”.
Reacting to Subbaiah’s exit, Dhinakaran on Tuesday said: “Leaders leaving the party for selfish reasons actually make the party stronger. Let them go; I will continue to run the party with true leaders.”
Stuck in a lean patch
T T V Dhinakaran had begun his post-AIADMK political career with a flourish, defeating the ruling party’s candidate by a huge margin to win the bypolls from RK Nagar, late AIADMK chief and Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa’s seat. After launching AMMK in March 2018, he had promised to weaken his former party. But the party’s rout in the Lok Sabha polls and by-elections to 22 Assembly seats has meant that many leaders in his camp are searching for greener pastures. They know that Dhinakaran’s immediate political future will be tough, and given that AIADMK’s good show in the bypolls has meant that the Palaniswami government is safe for its term until 2021, there’s hardly any chance of coming even close to power. At least in near future.
A senior AMMK leader said, “Subbaiah joining the AIADMK was not a big deal – it will not affect Dhinakaran. But he never expected Tamilselvan will go to the DMK.”
Tamilselvan was seen as Dhinakaran’s strong support in Theni. With the party seemingly weaker with the exit of some key faces, and many more are feared to be considering taking the same path, sources close to Dhinakaran said he will soon launch a padayatra to gather mass support.
Challenges began for AMMK after the recent Lok Sabha polls, in which the party had put up candidates in all Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu as well as the 22 Assembly constituencies that went to the bypolls, expecting a decent show even if not many seats. The party failed to win a single seat – worse, its vote-share was much lower than expectations.