Chennai

BJP denies attempts to bring AIADMK, AMMK together

P. Muralidhar Rao

P. Muralidhar Rao  

Recent tweet by a BJP cadre about release of V.K. Sasikala triggers speculation

A recent tweet by a BJP functionary about the release of former AIADMK interim general secretary V.K. Sasikala, from Bengaluru jail by mid-August, triggered speculation about the possibility of the national party attempting to bring together the ruling AIADMK and its breakaway faction Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK). However, the BJP has denied any such move.

Aseervatham Achary, coordinator of the BJP’s documentation and library department, had tweeted claiming that Sasikala was likely to be released on August 14. However, he declined to add anything more, when contacted for clarification.

There is one reason for the perception about the BJP’s role in bringing the AIADMK and the AMMK together. In February 2018, Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, recalled how he agreed to merge his AIADMK faction with that of Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami in August 2017 on the advice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

However, P. Muralidhar Rao, general secretary of the BJP looking after Tamil Nadu, denies that the party is keen on the AIADMK and AMMK coming togehter. “We are not concerned with issues of the AIADMK. It [merger] is a matter related to the AIADMK. We have nothing to do with that,” he told The Hindu.

It is not for the first time that the talk of Sasikala’s release earlier than the scheduled date is doing the rounds. In October last year too, it cropped up. Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar, perceived to be the Cabinet’s spokesperson, had asserted that neither Sasikala nor her nephew and AMMK general secretary T.T.V. Dhinakaran would be taken back.

Sasikala, who surrendered herself before the authorities in Bengaluru on February 15, 2017 after the Supreme Court confirmed her conviction in a disproportionate case that had involved Jayalalithaa primarily, is serving a four year imprisonment. As per one calculation, she is eligible to be set free by January 25, 2021, by taking into account 22 days she spent during September-October 2014 after a trial court’s judgment. A fine of ₹10 crore had also been slapped on her and if this was not paid, she would have to spend one more year. Her lawyer, Raja Senthoor Pandian, said Sasikala had also spent 13 days in prison during 1997 in connection with the same case.

Little impact

Senior AIADMK leaders say that even if the release takes place earlier than the scheduled date, there will be little impact on the party, as her presence will not add any strength to the organisation.

Office-bearers of the AMMK claim that it is the AIADMK and not the AMMK that will stand to lose heavily at the time of Assembly elections if both stand separated. However, as for the re-unification, it is up to Mr. Dhinakaran and Sasikala to decide.

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Printable version | Jul 12, 2020 12:12:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/bjp-denies-attempts-to-bring-aiadmk-ammk-together/article31958454.ece

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