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AIADMK merger highlights: TTV Dinakaran and family to be kept away from party, govt, says TN minister D Jayakumar

Senior Tamil Nadu Ministers tonight went into a huddle amid reports about coming together of rival AIADMK factions led by TTV Dinakaran and O Panneerselvam.

FP Politics April 18, 2017 22:03:09 IST
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AIADMK merger highlights: TTV Dinakaran and family to be kept away from party, govt, says TN minister D Jayakumar

Highlights

09:28 (ist)

The BJP's Tamil Nadu strategy depends on Dinakaran drama

The BJP is desperate to see a merger between the factions of Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswamy of AIADMK (Amma) and former chief minister O Panneerselvam of AIADMK (Puratchi Thalavi Amma), the latter backed by Sasikala and her nephew Dinakaran.

The BJP was wooing the united AIADMK led by Jayalalithaa for nearly ten years till her death in December 2016. After supporting the NDA and famously backing out in 1998, she was in and out of alliances with the BJP, Congress and Third Front, but remained non-aligned since the 2014 elections. The BJP warmed up to her even more after Modi became prime minister in 2014 and after her death in December 2016, cosied up to her friend Sasikala who seemed like her heiress-obvious. Read the full story here

18:19 (ist)

BJP's TN strategy depends on Dinakaran drama

The BJP is desperate to see a merger between the factions of Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswamy of AIADMK (Amma) and former chief minister O Panneerselvam of AIADMK (Puratchi Thalavi Amma), the latter backed by Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dinakaran.

The BJP was wooing the united AIADMK led by Jayalalithaa for nearly 10 years till her death in December 2016. After supporting the NDA and famously backing out in 1998, she was in and out of the alliances of BJP, Congress and Third Front, but remained non-aligned since the 2014 election. The BJP warmed up to her even more after Narendra Modi became the prime minister in 2014 and, after her death in December 2016, cosied up to her friend Sasikala who seemed like her heiress-obvious.

The realisation that the popularity of scam-tainted Sasikala, who is now in a Bengaluru jail, was limited to some two dozen legislators and didn't extend to people at large, followed by a split in the AIADMK, was an obvious cause of worry for the BJP. Then came the I-T raids on 7 April on a minister close to Dinakaran, which allegedly proved that he had distributed Rs 89 crore to voters in the run-up to the RK Nagar by-election, rescinded later. The Delhi Police case against him on Monday added a new twist: He was accused of attempting to bribe the Election Commission to get the united AIADMK's seized two-leaves symbol for his faction. 

A reunited AIADMK, minus Sasikala and her family, would be ethically and electorally an ideal entity for the BJP to align with. And it would be naive to believe that the BJP is a mere spectator in his drama-it's a catalyst from outside, if not an agent provocateur from inside. 

13:21 (ist)

Is this all part of a BJP script?

In roughly two months since he fired the first shot against VK Sasikala on the sprawling sands of Marina Beach in Chennai, rebel AIADMK leader O Panneerselvam (OPS) seems to be winning his battle. By all indications, his section of the party and the bigger ruling faction are likely to close ranks in a day.

At least for the time being, TTV Dinakaran (also spelled as Dhinakaran), Sasikala’s nephew, who had himself planted at the top of the AIADMK as its deputy general secretary when his aunt went to jail in Bengaluru for corruption, will be ousted. Sasikala is unlikely to be touched for two reasons: First, she is in jail and cannot meddle with the party on a daily basis; and second, a number of MLAs cannot simply abandon their loyalty to her.

In the public eye, an apparently virtuous OPS, who rose to some sort of star status by defying Sasikala’s hegemony, will win and all will be well with the AIADMK; but in reality, it will be the BJP — that has been pulling the strings from Delhi — that wins. Without the BJP, OPS wouldn’t have rebelled and sustained himself this long, let alone won the battle.

With Sasikala in jail and Dinakaran out of the job, the AIADMK will be ridden with multiple caste and loyalty-driven factions. And that is an ideal setting for a compromises at least among the most prominent factional leaders such as OPS, chief minister Edappadi Palaniswamy and MP M Thambidurai. It remains to be seen how they share power - Edapaddy is likely to continue as the chief minister, OPS might take over as the deputy general secretary and finance minister and Thambidurai will be party’s point-man in Delhi. OPS’s associate and a Jayalalithaa favourite Mafoi K Pandiarajan is likely to get back his portfolios. Sasikala is unlikely to be touched any time now, but her influence will certainly wane.

Read the full story here

11:04 (ist)

Here are the OPS and Dinakaran camps' terms and conditions for reunification

After the Delhi Police on Monday booked AIADMK (Amma) leader TTV Dinakaran for allegedly trying to bribe an Election Commission official for obtaining the party symbol for his faction following the arrest of an alleged middleman, there were speculations that a merger between the two AIADMK factions was on the cards. Rebel AIADMK leader O Panneerselvam had expressed confidence that the TTV Dinakaran-led faction leaders would approach him for merger talks.

On speculations about merger of the two AIADMK factions and that he was going to be made "general secretary", he had said that no one has approached him for it so far. "If approached, we are ready to sit and talk and I have confidence that they (leaders) will come (for talks)," he had told reporters at the airport in Chennai.

CNN-News18 also reported that sources had told the TV channel that Panneerselvam's faction had on Tuesday placed some conditions for the possible merger. He had reportedly demanded a probe panel for former chief minister J Jayalalithaa's death and wanted no interference from Sasikala's kin in party matters. Read the full story here

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

Apr 20, 2017 - 15:51 (IST)

Panneerselvam camp calls the shots on merger

KP Muniswamy from the Panneerselvam camp says they never asked for the post of the CM of the party general secretary. “We never went into this assuming we were heading for elections. But if there are elections, Panneerselvam will definitely win.”

“We are demanding the resignations of TTV Dinakaran and Sasikala. If these conditions are met, we will immediately start talks,” says Muniswamy.

News-18

Apr 20, 2017 - 14:41 (IST)

AIADMK leaders meet TN Governor


Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker and AIADMK leader M. Thambidurai called on Tamil Nadu Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao in Chennai on Thursday.


​Thambidurai later told reporters that it was a courtesy call as he has known Rao for a long time. He said he did not discuss the political situation in the state with Rao.


Tamil Nadu Finance and Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar also met Rao. Jayakumar said: "The meeting was in connection with the selection of Vice Chancellor of a university."


The meetings come amid efforts within the divided ruling AIADMK to merge. 

IANS

Apr 20, 2017 - 14:23 (IST)

What toned down TTV Dinakaran?

The past few days have been all about set-backs for TTV Dinakaran, who until recently enjoyed a powerful status in the ruling party in Tamil Nadu.

The leader, whose extended family is notoriously called the Mannargudi mafia and is arguably the most influential clan in the southern Indian state, has been having a tough time staying afloat amid legal troubles and a rebelling party.

First, the poll panel repealed the RK Nagar assembly polls as he drew flak for allegedly trying to bribe the voters. Next came the EC bribery case, which essentially triggered a domino effect. An influential faction, led by the chief minister, within his party rebelled against him. And on top of that, an ED court has framed charges against him in a financial irregularity case against him, lodged some 20 years ago.

An alienated, cowed down Dinakaran, however said that he had distanced himself from the party for the betterment of the organization, while he vowed to fight all charges against him legally. He also expressed some doubts about the circumstances under which his party members had rebelled against him.

Apr 20, 2017 - 13:28 (IST)

M Thambidurai calls on TN governor amid hectic political governments

Senior AIADMK leader and Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai today met Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao. However, AIADMK sources remained tight light over the agenda behind the meeting. 

However, according to CNN-News 18, Thambidurai has termed it a courtesy call, adding "No politics to be read into this. I have already said the CM will continue. He is an elected man.”

Apr 20, 2017 - 13:06 (IST)

Dinakaran asked to appear before Delhi Police on Saturday

AIADMK deputy chief Dinakaran has 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. The Delhi Police had last night served summons to him in the case.

PTI

Apr 20, 2017 - 12:58 (IST)

Take a look at AIADMK Twitter timeline

Apr 20, 2017 - 12:48 (IST)

Tamil Nadu CM E Palaniswamy removes red beacon from car

But here's a question: Will he be as willing to relinquish the power it represents for the sake of AIADMK merger?

Apr 20, 2017 - 12:40 (IST)

As OPS, EPS, Dinakaran camps decide on merger plans, this is how media keeps itself busy

Thursday is a rather slow day as far as developments from Tamil Nadu capital was concerned. All the three camps — O Panneerselvam, E Palaniswamy, TTV Dinakaran — remained mum on the future of AIADMK merger. 

However, this one man, clearly an MGR fan, kept the media occupied outside OPS' residence in Chennai. 

Apr 20, 2017 - 12:05 (IST)

RECAP: No opposition for me in AIADMK, says Dinakaran


Beleaguered leader TTV Dinakaran on Wednesday said none in the party were against him, asserting that all party MLAs stood behind him.


"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 General Secretary V K 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 here later in the day on a case against him for alleged violation of FERA regulations.

Apr 20, 2017 - 11:57 (IST)

Dinakaran questions Delhi Police's lookout notice

TTV Dinakaran questioned the need for the lookout notice issued by the Delhi Police in a bribery case, saying as his passport "is in court" for 20 years how could he flee the country. "My passport is in court for 20 years. How can I escape from India," he told reporters. 

He was apparently referring to the pending FERA cases against him in a court here in connection with which he has surrendered his passport. 

Several senior Tamil Nadu ministers went into a huddle on Monday night in Chennai amid reports about coming together of rival AIADMK factions led by TTV Dinakaran and O Panneerselvam. The development came on a day when the Delhi Police booked AIADMK (Amma) leader TTV Dinakaran (also spelled as Dhinakaran) for allegedly trying to bribe an Election Commission official in a failed bid to obtain the coveted "two-leaves" party symbol for his faction.

Emerging from the more than an hour-and-half-long meeting at the residence of Electricity Minister K Thangamani late tonight, Finance Minister D Jayakumar said modalities were being worked out to pave the way for the merger of the two factions. Earlier on Monday, Panneerselvam, a former Chief Minister of the state, had expressed confidence that the Dinakaran faction leaders would approach him for merger talks.

"If approached, we are ready to sit and talk and I have confidence that they (leaders) will come (for talks)," he told reporters at the airport here.

"Given the opinion (voiced by OPS), modalities to strengthen the party and to run it with unity were discussed," Jayakumar told reporters, briefing them about the meeting which was attended by most of the ministers of E K Palaniswami government. Earlier in the day, speculations swirled about a possible pact between Palaniswami and Panneerselvam under which both VK Sasikala, the jailed AIADMK general secretary, and Dinakaran, her nephew and deputy, would be ousted.

AIADMK merger highlights TTV Dinakaran and family to be kept away from party govt says TN minister D Jayakumar

AIADMK deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran.

Unconfirmed reports had it that under the arrangement Palaniswami would continue as Chief Minister while Panneerselvam would occupy the coveted post of AIADMK general secretary, which was held by J Jayalalithaa till her death last December. However, Panneerselvam had earlier in the day told journalists nobody had approached him with such a proposal so far.

Asked about speculation in political circles that Sasikala, who is serving a prison term in connection with a disproportionate assets case in which Jayalalithaa was also an accused, was preparing to quit as general secretary, Jayakumar said, "There is no such thing."

Law Minister C V Shanmugam termed it as "a lie". Shanmugam said since Dinakaran was in Bengaluru for a meeting with Sasikala, the merger issue will be discussed on his return here.

On Panneerselvam's stand that Sasikala's family should not be a part of the party, Jayakumar evaded a direct answer and said, "The decision of the last party cadre is the decision of the party and all of us."

He said, "We will get the two-leaves symbol for sure as it is the desire of all the party workers." The election symbol is seen as part of Jayalalithaa's enduring legacy.

The Election Commission had frozen the two-leaves symbol after both Panneerselvam and Sasikala-Dinakaran factions staked claim to it ahead of the now countermanded April 12 byelection to RK Nagar assembly constituency.

Jayakumar also said the submission of affidavits of district-level party workers to the Election Commission in the symbol dispute was discussed at the meeting.

On the possibility of meeting Panneerselvam to take forward the merger proposal, he said "For everything there is a time."

When a reporter pointed out that Panneerselvam had been demanding a probe into the circumstances surrounding the death of Jayalalithaa, and if it was to be made a condition for merger, he shot back, asking "Did he (Panneerselvam) spell out this as a condition?"

Another senior Minister and a heavy weight of the party in the western region, S P Velumani said "For sure we will be united, and retrieve the two-leaves symbol."

"Those who exited (Panneerselvam and his followers) are also part of our family. It is like a fight between two brothers. Together we will get back the two-leaves symbol," he said.

There was reportedly unease in Tamil Nadu's ruling party ever since Income Tax officials raided Health Minister Vijayabaskar's premises and seized evidence of bribing voters for the bypoll to R K Nagar assembly seat.

The poll, scheduled for April 12, was countermanded by the Election Commission on April 9 amid allegations of rampant inducement and bribing of voters.

Dinakaran was the candidate of AIADMK (Amma) faction for the seat. He was earlier in the day booked by the Delhi police after it arrested an alleged middleman who, according to police, was purportedly helping the AIADMK leader reach out to an unidentified official in the Election Commission in return for an astounding Rs 50 crore.

No arrest warrant has been issued against Dinakaran. But police have in their custody Sukesh Chandrasekhar, the alleged middleman who was picked from a 5-star hotel in New Delhi yesterday, a senior police official said.

Sasikala had reinducted Dinakaran, who was expelled from the AIADMK by Jayalalithaa, and appointed him the party's deputy general secretary just before proceeding to Bengaluru to serve the remnant of her jail term after the Supreme Court upheld her conviction and sentence in February this year.

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