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'AIADMK's Dinakaran's arrest a step toward political cleansing': How BJP's footprint is increasing in Tamil Nadu

As deputy general secretary of AIADMK (Amma) TTV Dinakaran was arrested by the Delhi Crime Branch on Tuesday, word is around that the Bharatiya Janata Party may have been stirring the soup that he has found himself in. And the saffron party, however cautious, has dropped ample hints.

As Dinakaran was arrested on Tuesday night — after four days of questioning for allegedly attempting to bribe an Election Commission official to try and retain AIADMK's old two-leaves symbol — the BJP expressed relief terming the move a "political cleansing" even as it rubbished allegations that it was meddling in the AIADMK's affairs.

TTV Dinakaran. Courtesy: Twitter @TTVDhinakran

TTV Dinakaran. Courtesy: Twitter @TTVDhinakran

According to a report in DNA, Tamil Nadu BJP chief Tamilisai Soundararajan welcomed the move. "They want to buy the votes, they want to buy the symbol and they want to buy the victory. That is the scenario prevalent in Tamil Nadu... We welcome the move. Our main aim is to cleanse the politics and it may be a step towards that," he said.

He, however, rubbished the allegations that the BJP may have played a party in the ongoing crisis, branding it as the "dangerous view" of communist and other opponent parties. Meanwhile, political pundits have guessed otherwise as the Centre's keen interest in Tamil Nadu politics has been visible since the death of Jayalalithaa.

The first blow was borne by the state's bureaucrats. In a move that would have been incomprehensible in Jayalalithaa's Tamil Nadu, Income Tax sleuths raided the office and home of the then Chief Secretary P Rama Mohana Rao.

The fact that the I-T department stayed away from the state police and used Central paramilitary forces, raised doubts whether the state government was even kept in loop before taking such an action against a senior bureaucrat.

Now, set aside for a second whether or not the I-T department had enough proof against Rao, it is still difficult to believe that a chief secretary would have been raided without a nod from the very top.

Besides this, Rao was a powerful man in the times of Jayalalithaa. She was known to trust her bureaucrats more than her ministers and the former wield more power than the latter. All the major decisions, in the state were often single-handedly taken by the chief minister's office. This is further highlighted by the fact that the Tamil Nadu bureaucracy continued to function like a well-oiled machinery even when Jailalithaa was indisposed to rule, and earlier when she had to step down and serve jail sentence in a corruption case. On both occasions, even as Panneerselvam filled in his shoes, he did not pick a new team.

It was only after that Rao's premises were raided and his son got caught up in a corruption case that the Panneerselvam government dismissed Rao, who nonchalantly mocked the decision. Panneerselvam government in Rao's rather frank opinion at the time, "did not have the guts to remove him".

His statement may be brazen and irrelevant today but it only goes on to show the kind of power the bureaucracy wielded, and if not for the direct intervention and support of the Centre and Jayalalithaa's absence, no body could have touched Amma's pet officers. Coming on to the political side, there too, BJP's footprints are amply visible.

Starting with Sasikala, the vehement opposition she faced from her own party MP and namesake Sasikala Pushpa raised several eyebrows. Pushpa was expelled from the party after a fallout with the Jayalalithaa. However, the grit and force with which she opposed the then unanimous selection of Sasikala as party general secretary was surprising.

Following that, the amount of trouble that Dinakaran attracted soon after he was planted as an AIADMK top brass by Sasikala is almost unprecedented. From allegations of trying to distribute money to voters to the sudden revival of old corruption cases against him, Dinakaran's political career was punched with many holes. The pressure was almost simultaneously upped by Panneerselvam by announcing open rebellion.

However, the last nail in the coffin was the current case, wherein he stands accused of bribing the poll panel officials. The controversial AIADMK leader had come under the scanner after the arrest of an alleged middleman and conman Sukesh Chandrasekar, who was being probed for several other cases.

Dinakaran had earlier maintained that he never met him, however, on Tuesday he conceded to knowing him but refuted allegations that he ever paid him money to bribe EC officials. Once the case had grabbed enough eyeballs, it was no surprise that Dinakaran, who was appointed deputy general secretary by Sasikala, has been isolated in his party amid moves to merge rival factions led by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister EK Palaniswami and his predecessor Panneerselvam.

A powerful section of the ruling AIADMK (Amma) also revolted against the Sasikala-Dhinakaran leadership as Panneerselvam, who is leading the rival faction, demanded ouster of Sasikala and Dhinakaran as a condition for merger talks. The merger is now only a matter of time and it boils down to the discussion of who gets what from the new pie of post-merger AIADMK.

Meanwhile, as Dinakaran has his legal mess to sort out and Panneerselvam will focus on taking over the government in state, the saffron party has quietly been making inroads into the state politics where it had previously failed to gain even a toehold.

According to a report in Hindustan Timesthe Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), is working tirelessly to increase its influence in Tamil Nadu. Only recently, the BJP topbrass met RSS functionaries in the state, to discuss the RSS activity in the region. Although they officially delinked the meeting from BJP's politics, the state leaders weren't averse to accepting that a larger support base of RSS in the state will mean more votes for the BJP.

Updated Date: Apr 26, 2017 13:53 PM

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