Sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dinakaran, who was released on bail a week ago in a corruption case, stressed today that he stays number two in Tamil Nadu’s ruling party and it is his “duty” to unite the gathering. To that end, Mr Dinakaran stated, he would meet his auntie VK Sasikala at a jail in Bengaluru today, “not as a nephew but as her deputy” and begin work with her advice.
“I’m the deputy general secretary of AIADMK. My return from jail is a comeback,” Mr Dinakaran told to media, emphasising that the party cadre were firmly with him and he had no intention of retreating into the shadows. He likewise did not rule out making a play for the post of Chief Minister.
Mr Dinakaran, 53, selected by Ms Sasikala as her deputy before she went to prison to serve a four-year sentence for corruption, was sidelined by the party as it attempted a get-together with a rebel faction led by O Panneerselvam or OPS, whose main condition for a merger was that Ms Sasikala and her family be kept away from the party and the government.
In the middle of his setbacks in the party, Mr Dinakaran was later arrested by the Delhi Police for allegedly trying to bribe Election Commission officers for the right to use the AIADMK poll symbol, claimed by rival factions led by OPS and Chief Minister E Palaniswami or EPS.
Mr Dinakaran – the EPS faction’s candidate for by-polls in Chennai’s RK Nagar body constituency, left empty after J Jayalalithaa’s death – was blamed for using a middleman to bribe poll officials. The bypoll was cancelled over huge irregularities; Mr Dinakaran says he may contest again when the surveys are declared.
Soon after his release from prison, he told reporters in Delhi that he was not removed and that “only the General Secretary (Sasikala) has the right to expel anyone.”
He said today that the line-up of cadre at the Chennai airport when he landed on Saturday showed his standing in the party. “They need me to be active,” he said.
“After getting advice and instruction from my leader, I will act. I moved to one side to unite the party. But, nothing changed even after 45 days.”
Asked about Chief Minister Palaniswami’s directive in April to throw away him and his aunt, Mr Dinakaran stated, “All legislators are my companions”.
“The MLAs and ministers sidelined me because of the fear of somebody,” he included, without taking names.