On Thursday as a beleaguered AIADMK leader TTV Dinakaran (also spelled as Dhinakaran) said none in the party were against him (asserting that all party MLAs stood behind him), AIADMK merger efforts are in full swing.
"There is no opposition to me in the party," he said, breaking his silence since influential section of Ministers revolted against him last night and decided to keep AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala and him out of the party. According to 'Jaya Plus' Tamil TV channel, Dinakaran said a "good decision" will be taken in the interest of the party.
Party sources indicated that he was expected to appear at the Economic Offences court in Chennai on Thursday on a case against him for alleged violation of FERA regulations. However, he skipped the court hearing citing the death of a relative. The court accepted his plea and scheduled the next hearing on 24th April.
He has also been asked to appear before the Crime Branch of Delhi Police on Saturday in a case of alleged bribery to EC officials for retrieving the party's 'two leaves' symbol. On Wednesday night, the Delhi Police had served summons to him in the case.
Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker and AIADMK leader M Thambidurai also called on Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao on Thursday, in an apparent effort to merge the two factions of AIADMK. Tamil Nadu Finance and Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar also met Rao.
While the efforts for the merger are in full-swing, O Panneerselvam camp toughened their stand demanding Sasikala's resignation and calling for a CBI probe into Jayalalithaa's death.
On Wednesday, isolated in his party, AIADMK deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran threw in the towel and "stepped aside" to pave the way for a merger of rival factions led by Tamil Nadu chief minister EK Palaniswamy and his predecessor O Panneerselvam.
Dinakaran, the nephew of jailed AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala, is facing a revolt by an influential section of the party led by Palaniswamy and a host of ministers, who declared the ouster of the once powerful aunt-nephew duo, and extended a hand of friendship to the Panneerselvam camp.
Dinakaran, who had on Wednesday convened a meeting of the MLAs backing him, called it off at the last moment, apparently because his supporters were outnumbered by those arrayed against him.
Senior ministers including D Jayakumar and KA Sengottaiyan, who chairs the AIADMK presidium and had hitherto sided with Dinakaran, had questioned the beleaguered leader's locus standi to convene a meeting of legislators and the party's district secretaries.
Seeking to avoid any confrontation, Dinakaran said he had "stepped aside" last night itself "in the interest of the party".
"I myself would have announced it (of keeping away from the party) if they had told me about their decision," he said, referring to last night's revolt.
Dinakaran, who is facing trouble on multiple fronts, including from the Delhi police which has booked him for allegedly trying to bribe an Election Commission official to clinch the 'two-leaves' symbol of the party, frozen by the poll panel, for his faction, also said he had no issues with the rival camps merging together.
He, however, claimed the rebellion against him was out of "fear".
"They (ministers) might have done this (revolt) due to some fear. Maybe there was some dissatisfaction against me.
But I don't know," he told reporters.
He was apparently referring to the possible angst in the party following income tax raids at Health Minister C Vijayabaskar's premises ahead of the assembly bypoll to the RK Nagar seat which was countermanded following allegations of bribing and inducement of voters. Dinakaran was the party's nominee for the election.
"I wonder what the apprehension is about. When they make such sudden announcement there must be some fear," he said, adding, the revolt was a decision made in a "hurry".
Dinakaran, however, made it clear that since it was Sasikala who had appointed him to the post, he would decide on the next course of action only after meeting her. He wondered why there was the question of his resignation when he had already "stepped aside".
Meanwhile, Panneerselvam, a staunch loyalist of the late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, described the revolt against the Sasikala family as the "first success" of his "dharma yuddh" (holy war).
Panneerselvam said he had launched the "dharma yuddh" with the help of his supporters, including MPs and MLAs, in an effort to ensure that the AIADMK did not go into hands of Sasikala's family.
Panneerselvam had filled-in for Jayalalithaa as Chief Minister thrice in the past, twice when she had to go to jail in corruption cases and once when she was on her death bed. He had claimed he was coerced to step down by Sasikala after Jayalalithaa's death.
Though the Palaniswamy and Panneerselvam camps have shown inclination for the merger of the two factions, there have not been any direct talks between them so far.
Dinakaran, against whom the Delhi police has issued a lookout notice for allegedly trying to bribe an Election Commission official, said he had no intention to fight with people who are like his "brothers." "I will never go against the AIADMK," he said.
He, however, insisted the appointment of Sasikala and himself to the top party posts was made with the "consent" of others and that none was "bypassed".
He indicated Sasikala has not yet been apprised of the developments. "How can someone inside the jail be informed," he asked.
When asked if he was being "targeted" by way of Income Tax raids on Health Minister C Vijayabaskar and countermanding of the 12 April RK Nagar bypoll, he responded with a terse "maybe."
Putting up a brave face, he said he will tackle the situation. "They can maximum put me behind bars. If that is my destiny, I will face it and come out," he added.
A powerful section of the ruling AIADMK (Amma) had last night risen in revolt against Sasikala-Dinakaran leadership, and said they had resolved to "delink" the party and the government from them.
The surprise development had come on a day when Panneerselvam made the merger talks between the two camps contingent upon the ruling AIADMK faction ejecting Sasikala and Dinakaran, who is standing-in for his jailed aunt.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Apr 20, 2017 16:16 PM