Tamil Nadu

AIADMK would accept anybody who wants to return, says Dinakaran

Flanked by senior leaders K.A. Sengottaiyan (left) and M. Thambidurai, AIADMK deputy general secretary T.T.V. Dinakaran addresses the media at the party headquarters in Chennai on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: M. Vedhan

AIADMK deputy general secretary T.T.V. Dinakaran on Thursday said the party would “accept with motherly affection” anybody who had gone out of the “parent organisation” and wanted to return.

Addressing reporters after formally taking over, he fended off criticism that he was elevated “suddenly”, saying he was brought into the party by the former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in the early days itself and that he was given various party posts and even made an MP by her.

Asked about rebel leader O. Panneerselvam’s plans to conduct a State-wide campaign against the present AIADMK leadership, Mr. Dinakaran said the party had faced “betrayals” in the past too, but had successfully overcome them.

However, referring to the defection of MLAs and MPs to the Panneerselvam camp, he said that some had “lost their way and moved away from the parent movement”.

“We have the confidence that anybody who had left the parent movement will return to our fold,” he said.

Asked if Mr. Panneerselvam would also be allowed to return, he said, “The party will receive with motherly affection and accept anybody who had left the parent organisation.”

Mr. Dinakaran's comments come in the wake of Mr. Panneerselvam’s expulsion by AIADMK general secretary and Mr. Dinakaran’s aunt V.K. Sasikala following his revolt against her in the wake of her election as AIADMK Legislature Party leader on February 5.

Mr. Panneerselvam, who quit as Chief Minister then, revolted against her, alleging he was forced to step down to make way for her.

Sasikala was convicted by the Supreme Court in an assets case on February 14 and is lodged in the central jail at Parapana Agrahara in Bengaluru.

To a question on who was his party’s main rival — DMK leader M.K. Stalin or Mr. Panneerselvam, Mr. Dinakaran insisted it was the DMK, as the AIADMK was founded by the late M.G. Ramachandran against that very party and its chief M. Karunandihi.

“You must have seen in the Assembly also. They tried to use Panneerselvam to topple the government but failed. You are seeing the daily dramas being enacted by Mr. Stalin. The AIADMK was founded against the DMK and they are our main rival,” he said.

Mr. Stalin was “dejected” that he could not “topple” the AIADMK government and was, therefore, doing things like staging a hunger strike or flying to Delhi to meet President Pranab Mukherjee.

On the trust vote issue, Mr. Dinakaran insisted that Speaker P. Dhanapal had conducted the House as per rules, and charged the DMK with trying to incite violence.

“Stalin wanted to incite violence and topple the government. All the AIADMK MLAs proved that the party is Amma’s fortress and behaved with military discipline. So Stalin’s outbursts [on the matter] are due to his dejection and failure. And that is why he has gone to Delhi,” he said.

The government would continue to function normally and deliver public welfare measures, said Mr. Dinakaran. He denied any influence of Sasikala or her family in the party or the government.

Blaming Opposition parties, including the DMK, for carrying out a “false campaign” in this regard, he said the AIADMK and its government were being run by “1.5 crore party supporters”.

“No individual or family has ever dominated in the past nor will we allow it to be done in the future,” he said.

Mr. Dinakaran denied he was “suddenly” elevated in the party. “Amma had asked me to stay away [from politics] for a while and I obeyed her words like a true soldier, which is my duty. Chinnamma [Sasikala] reinducted me after a plea from some party functionaries,” he said.

In 2011, Jayalalithaa expelled Sasikala, her husband M. Natarajan and Mr. Dinakaran , besides some of their other relatives from the AIADMK for reportedly interfering in party and government affairs.

A few months later, Sasikala apologised and returned, but the others remained expelled.

To a query, Mr. Dinakaran said there was no “public anger” against his party or the government.The party would continue its winning run in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as well as the 2021 Assembly polls, he asserted.

Asked if he would contest the Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar by-election, necessitated by the death of Jayalalithaa, Mr. Dinakaran said the party would decide on the candidate.

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