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Tamil Nadu: After 4 years of turbulence, Dhinakaran fails to bag single seat, BJP wins 4

The results announced on Sunday came as a major setback to the political ambitions of Dhinakaran, who floated the party in 2018 to prove a point shortly after his and his aunt V K Sasikala's expulsion from the AIADMK.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai |
Updated: May 3, 2021 9:52:46 am
Dhinakaran

SQUEEZED OUT by the two rival alliances led by DMK and AIADMK, it appeared to be the end of the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK), which failed to bag a single seat in the Tamil Nadu assembly elections, with even party founder T T V Dhinakaran losing from Kovilpatti constituency.

The results announced on Sunday came as a major setback to the political ambitions of Dhinakaran, who floated the party in 2018 to prove a point shortly after his and his aunt V K Sasikala’s expulsion from the AIADMK.

The AMMK’s wipe-out is an outcome of a series of chaotic events – largely attributed to the BJP – that unfolded in Tamil Nadu after the death of the then chief minister J Jayalalithaa in 2016, which not only broke the spirit of the AIADMK but also led it to a forced alliance with the national party.

A series of I-T and CBI searches targeting mining baron Sekar Reddy in December 2016, a revolt by then chief minister O Panneerselvam against the party’s interim general secretary Sasikala soon after the raids and yet another series of raids targeting top AIADMK ministers were among the major events that the BJP has been accused of scripting to make inroads in Tamil Nadu politics after Jayalalithaa’s death. This turbulence was followed by more: merger of the two rival AIADMK factions and finally the ouster of Sasikala from the party, which was again attributed to the BJP’s gameplan.

Incidentally, while Dhinakaran’s party was wiped off on Sunday, the BJP, which did not have a single seat in the previous assembly, won four seats, matching its best-ever performance of 2001. Vanathi Srinivasan in Coimbatore South, Nainar Nagendran in Tirunelveli were among the winners.

On the other hand, some AIADMK ministers, who closely worked with the BJP in the past four years, also lost the elections. D Jayakumar, the only minister deputed to issue statements against Sasikala after her ouster and Mafoi Pandiarajan, a close aide of Panneerselvam who was in touch with the RSS camp on his behalf, were among those who lost.

Even when Sasikala was sent to prison on corruption charges and was ousted from the party later, there was a section of AIADMK leaders who strongly believed that only her leadership could save the party from the clutches of the BJP, irrespective of poll victories. “Looks like that chapter is over. There is no scope for a revival. Why should Dhinakaran fight against the AIADMK or BJP having lost all seats they contested?” said a senior AIADMK leader, who had been silently supporting Sasikala.

Sources close to the Sasikala family said she will continue to stay away from politics. “Had Dhinakaran won a couple of seats or at least one seat in the assembly, there were reasons for him to assert his power. Where is his space now? Why should Sasikala now take risks for Dhinakaran’s political life when the BJP can still trouble her with pending cases? She cannot forget the last four years spent in prison,” said a source.

An AIADMK minister who won the election hoped that the BJP would lose interest in the AIADMK soon. “Hereafter, they will go after the DMK, not us. We neither have power in the state nor have MPs except one in Delhi,” he said.

Dhinakaran is also expected to keep a low profile due to cases that are pending against him and Sasikala, senior AIADMK leaders said.

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