Sidelined AIADMK leader T.T.V. Dinakaran, who is leading 21 party legislators, on Tuesday said he would work towards bringing down the K. Palaniswami government. “You (Chief Minister Palaniswami) and others have no moral right to sit in positions of power that was once wielded by Jayalalithaa. We will send this government home,” Dinakaran told a press conference here. He was reacting shortly after the merged AIADMK factions adopted a resolution revoking the appointment of his aunt V.K. Sasikala as AIADMK General Secretary and his appointment as Deputy General Secretary at the party’s General Council meeting held here.
“This is not a valid General Council meeting. Only the party General Secretary can call a meeting of the General Council meeting,” Dinakaran said. He said even when around 500 members of the General Council want a meeting of the council, it is the General Secretary who has to call the meeting. Dinakaran said the Madras High Court on Monday has said the decisions of the meeting are subject to its final judgement in a case filed against the holding of the meeting. Citing the resolution that states that the party members cannot visualise anybody else as General Secretary other than the late J. Jayalalithaa, he wondered whether the same logic would also apply to the Chief Minister’s post?
Dinakaran said it was Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam who broke away from the party and was instrumental in the Election Commission freezing the party’s two leaves symbol. “Our workers and the public have been raising the question about the continuation of this government, which is not in tune with Jayalaithaa’s principles. They (ruling faction) are afraid of facing elections. They can’t even get back deposits, but the MLAs are with them because of a false fear about facing elections,” he said. “After sending this government home, we will work to restore Jayalalithaa’s government.”
Dinakaran said: “DMK is our main challenger and we’ll fight against them, and win the elections. The ruling faction is spreading falsehood that we are in alignment with DMK.” Following the death of Jayalalithaa, the party split into three factions led by Sasikala, Palaniswami and former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam. The Election Commission froze the party’s ‘two leaves’ election symbol due to competing claims. Last month, the factions led by Palaniswami and Panneerselvam merged.
The merged group held a General Council meeting on Tuesday morning and voted to oust Sasikala as General Secretary. Sasikala, a long-time aide of Jayalalithaa, is in jail in a corruption case. The General Council meeting was held at a time when the opposition led by the DMK has accused the AIADMK government led by Palaniswami of having lost the majority in the assembly and demanded that it prove its majority on the floor of the house.
On Sunday, after urging Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao to convene the assembly within a week, DMK Working President M.K. Stalin said 21 legislators belonging to the Dinakaran faction are opposed to Chief Minister Palaniswami. In the 235-member assembly, there are 234 members, including one nominated member without voting rights. One seat remains vacant following the death of Jayalalithaa last year.
Effectively, the number of legislators with voting rights in the assembly is 233. The number of legislators opposed to the government is 119, including the DMK and allies with 98 and Dinakaran faction’s 21.