After his and Sasikala's ouster from AIADMK, Dinakaran vows revenge
Months after VK Sasikala took centre stage following late Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa's death, the AIADMK general council expelled her and nephew TTV Dinakaran from the party on 12 September, effectively removing her from the post of interim general secretary.
Dinakaran's appointment as deputy general secretary was cancelled as well.
The council meeting, which saw both factions attending, had been called by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami.
Dinakaran declared that he would pull down this government with the support of 21 MLAs on his side. “If the party is with you, prove your majority on the floor of the Tamil Nadu Assembly or at least at the AIADMK legislature party," dared Dinakaran, who declared today’s meeting as unauthorised as Sasikala alone was empowered to call such a meeting.
But by ensuring the attendance of over 2,100 out of the 2,400 members at the general council meeting, Palaniswami proved the party was with him.
Untangling the mess
As Sasikala was elected to the post by the very same general council last December, mere weeks after Jayalalitha passed away, the official factions of the AIADMK tried to get around the legal tangle by abolishing the post of general secretary itself and entrusted her powers of appointment and removals of party members to coordinator O Panneerselvam and joint coordinator Palaniswami.
The meeting by a resolution said that as no one could take the place of AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran or his mentor, and the late Jayalalitha who headed both the party and the government, it was decided to abolish the party post itself and go in for a collective leadership under Chief Minister Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam.
The party also decided to take all steps to regain the “Two Leaves” symbol, frozen after a split, by presenting the resolutions adopted at today’s meeting to the Election Commission.
The party contended that as Sasikala’s appointment itself had been declared null and void, Dinakaran named deputy by her would have no locus standi.
Reacting to this development, Dinakaran said that as it had been Sasikala who had anointed Palaniswami as Chief Minister, he also ought to resign.
Realising if this government was allowed to consolidate its position, his MLAs would ditch him as another election is undesirable when they have the mandate to rule for another three years, Dinakaran decided to strike when the iron was hot.
He said already 19 MLAs had withdrawn support to this government, and that if the Governor delayed action any further, he would strike.
But that would be possible only if the Governor calls the Assembly to let Palaniswami prove his majority. So far, he has delayed action on the grounds that the dissidents are still in the AIADMK and the question of the government proving its majority has not arisen.
However, Dinakaran, as well as the Leader of the Opposition and DMK working president M K Stalin say that stage is well past as only 109 ruling party MLAs attended the last meeting called by Palaniswami.
They both contend that 119 MLAs are against this government — 98 from DMK and its allies and 21 from the Dinakaran camp. Therefore, the government has only 114 on its side, three short of the half-way mark in a House with an effective strength of 233, minus Jaya’s vacant seat.
Stalin and Dinakaran have both met the Governor in this regard. Irked by his studied inaction, the DMK today moved the Madras High Court for a direction to him to call the Assembly.
Stalin told reporters that as and when the Assembly meets, his party will move a no-confidence motion against the government.
Dinakaran reckons that if he pulls the government down, the majority of the MLAs and party office-bearers will join him.
Palaniswami, however, calculates that power is a cementing factor and when there is a showdown, many dissident MLAs may switch sides to save their position and this government.
Though the two factions have merged, they have to inform the Election Commission first and then withdraw two conflicting affidavits filed - one by the Palaniswami group in favour of Sasikala and the other by O Panneerselvam against her. Only then can the Election Commission free the symbol.
The Madras High Court, which last night allowed the two factions to hold the general council, however, said decisions taken therein would be subject to its final order slated for 23 October. The court did not want to take an immediate call as the EC is seized of the issue.
As the right to use the AIADMK is in dispute, today’s meeting was called in the name of the two factions - AIAMDK Amma and AIADMK Puratchi Thalavi Amma. Dinakaran said: “It was a meeting of Palaniswami and Co”.
So, as the power struggle continues, the final shots are yet to be fired.