Chennai: In an escalation of differences in the ruling AIADMK (Amma), its Deputy General Secretary TTV Dinakaran on Monday questioned the diktat of Chief Minister K Palaniswami's camp that he keep away from party work.
Finance Minister D Jayakumar, representing the Palaniswami camp, which had revolted against Dinakaran and jailed party chief VK Sasikala in April, asked the deputy chief to keep away from the party affairs.
However, Dinakaran, who has come out on bail in the EC bribery case last week, shot back asking who gave them the authority and said only the party general secretary had the powers to remove office-bearers.
Jayakumar was reacting to Dinakaran's assertion last week that he will continue party work, in contrast to his announcement in April after the revolt by the ministers that he would keep away from the party.
It was the party's unanimous view to hold on to its stand of having no dealings with Dinakaran, Sasikala and their associates, he told reporters in Chennai.
Earlier, Dinakaran, called on Sasikala, serving term in the disproportionate assets case, at the Parappana Agrahara prison in Bengaluru.
"Dinakaran today met Sasikala at our prison. However, I do not have any information about what transpired between the two leaders," a Parapanna Agrahara prison official told PTI.
A close associate of Dinakaran, however, said the leader discussed the current developments within the party with Sasikala.
Before proceeding to meet her, Dinakaran in Hosur, bordering Karnataka, repeated his earlier claim that the ministers had revolted against him out of some fears.
On his return from Bengaluru, he said that Sasikala asked him to wait for two months to see if the ministers could facilitate a patch-up as assured by them with the rebel group led by O Panneerselvam.
Jayakumar said Dinakaran should stick to the assurance he had made in April to keep away from party.
"We are firm, and we are clear. We have no truck with him, we are not dependent on him," he said.
He said Dinakaran, Sasikala or their associates were not "in the background. He (Dinakaran) should stick to his stand that he will keep away from party," Jayakumar said.
Hitting back, Dinakaran asked "I don't know who gave the authority (to ask him to keep off) to those 20-30 ministers." He mocked at Jayakumar for taking up "sky-high" powers of the party general secretary.
He said only the party general secretary had the power to remove office-bearers. Since she was imprsioned, the next in command (deputy general secretary) was he and he has the powers to do so.
Jayakumar, flanked by ministers including KA Sengottaiyan, said top party functionaries and ministers held deliberations following Dinakaran's repeated assertions to continue party work after he returned from a Delhi prison.
Questing Jayakumar and other ministers, Dinakaran said by two months, Sasikala told him that both factions would come forward to work under the "general secretary," if they realised the "true situation" and when their "fear" faded.
"I have accepted it and decided to wait for two months," he said, adding Sasikala had told him what to do just in case things did not fall in place by sixty days.
Dinakaran said when the ministers in April had announced that they were "keeping him out of party," it was said by them that only then it would help the patch-up bid.
The leader, who was arrested by CBI for his alleged attempt to bribe Election officials to get the AIADMK symbol, said he agreed to keep off to help the ministers work for a merger.
"Even after 45 days there is no development. Everyday, they (both factions led by K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam) are attacking each other in the media and causing set back to the party and the government," he said.
He reiterated that the ministers were acting out of fear, adding only time will tell what those fears were.
Jayakumar, however, said, "We (Chief Minister and Ministers) are leading Amma (Jayalalithaa) government without anybody being in the background and there is no doubt about it."
Though he affirmed that "no party leader will meet Dhinakaran," some ruling party MLAs were seen with him during his Bengaluru visit.
Updated Date: Jun 06, 2017 07:19 AM