Dinakaran meets Sasikala in Bengaluru jail as Panneerselvam-Palaniswamy factions look set for merger

A day after Tamil Nadu chief minister E Palaniswamy announced a probe into the death of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa and promised to turn Poes Garden into a memorial, TTV Dinakaran visited her aunt VK Sasikala on Friday. Sasikala is jailed in Bengaluru's Parappnana Agrahara Jail after conviction in the disproportionate assets case.

Palaniswamy's announcement on Thursday was reported to be a step towards the merger of the Palaniswamy and Panneerselvam faction of the AIADMK. Dinakaran's supporters form the third faction.

Palaniswamy-Dinakaran ties break down

The combined attack against Dinakaran by Palaniswamy and Panneerselvam is a clear indication that thaw between Palaniswamy and Dinakaran no longer exists. Dinakaran is now seen by the duo as an impediment to a merger between the two factions. In fact, one of the three demands of the Panneerselvam faction for the merger is the expulsion of Sasikala and Dinakaran from the party. The other two were turning Poes Garden residence of Jayalalithaa into a memorial and a CBI investigation into her death in December 2016.

Addressing a public meeting in Cuddalore organised in connection with the birth centenary celebrations of MGR, the chief minister said they would not be afraid of "threats" from anyone.

Palaniswamy did not refer to anyone by name but it was obvious that it was a reference to Dinakaran, who had been issuing threats to the chief minister and his ministers in the last few days about the stability of the government.

File image of TTV Dinakaran. PTI

File image of TTV Dinakaran. PTI

"There are some people who are trying to capture the government and the party through the back door. It is only a day dream. By no means their attempt will succeed. No one can shake the AIADMK government. We will not cow down to anybody's threats," he said.

With Palaniswamy's announcements on Thursday, the Panneerselvam faction would be holding a press conference at 5 pm on Friday to decide the future course of action, reported News18.

Member of the Panneerselvam faction KP Munusamy said on Thursday, "As far as merger goes, it can happen only if (party chief) VK Sasikala and her family are fully expelled from the party."

Relations between the ruling AIADMK government and Dinakaran strained after a 10 August resolution delegitimised Dinakaran's appointment as AIADMK deputy general secretary.

This announcement sent a strong signal that the chief minister's camp would go in for a rapprochement with the Panneerselvam faction. However, Dinakaran trained his guns on Palaniswamy, issuing a veiled threat.

"They should ponder about these allegations and take the right path, the path laid by Amma and if they do not do that they will for sure face danger (to the government)."

Merger under threat?

According to News18, the Palaniswamy faction would be filing an affidavit to disassociate itself with Sasikala.

However, M Thambidurai, the Lok Sabha deputy speaker, came out in support of Sasikala. According to News18, the veteran leader said that nobody can remove Sasikala or Dinakaran as the leaders since they were appointed by the party's general council.

According to News18, if the merger takes place, then Panneerselvam will be made the general secretary of the party, who will be heading the AIADMK along with a seven-member team. Palaniswamy will continue as the chief minister at least until 2018, the report said. With the two factions merging, the unified AIADMK is likely to join the NDA government at the Centre.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Aug 18, 2017 14:23 PM

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