The AIADMK members who sided with TTV Dhinakaran are welcome back to the party but not the rebel leader, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami said Thursday. Scores of AIADMK members sided with Dhinakaran after his fallout with Palaniswami last year, even as the ruling party expelled many for switching sides.
Reacting to reports of some key Dhinakaran aides planning to leave his Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam or AMMK and join other parties, Palaniswami said it was their choice.
“It is our duty to invite (those in the rival camp). This movement was founded by the MGR and was taken forward by Amma. Myself and the party coordinator had extended invitation to those who parted ways with us to return and work with us,” he told reporters here.
AIADMK is currently headed by O Panneerselvam, the deputy of Palaniswamy in the government. Many people, including a key local leader of AMMK from Ramanathapuram have joined the AIADMK recently, Palaniswamy said.
Asked if the invitation applied to Dhinakaran also, he said, “I have already made it clear that anyone other than him can join.”
In Chennai, senior party leader and Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar told reporters that persons returning to the party would be given due recognition.
Founded by the iconic MG Ramachandran, fondly called MGR, the party witnessed hefty power struggle within its rank and the government after the death of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in December 2016.
In April 2017, a section of the Palaniswami-led cabinet had sidelined Dhinakaran. In August that year, Panneerselvam and Palaniswami merged their factions and were later allotted the party’s popular ‘Two Leaves’ symbol by the Election Commission.
Later, a party General Council expelled then AIADMK chief VK Sasikala, currently serving a prison term in Bengaluru in a grafts case since February 2017.
It had also annulled all appointments made by her, including that of Dhinakaran as AIADMK deputy general secretary, before she left for Bengaluru to serve the prison term.
Later, Dhinakaran left the party and floated AMMK. Last December, he made a stellar comeback by winning the RK Nagar, a seat that was represented by Jayalalithaa, by over 40,000 votes.