Sidelined AIADMK Deputy General Secretary T T V Dinakaran today said he would resume party work from August 4 after a two-months hiatus and embark on a state-wide tour to facilitate efforts for merger of factions. “Strengthening the party also means bringing together those who had walked apart,” he said in an apparent reference to factions led by former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and Chief Minister K Palaniswami. Stating that he was “no competition” to any one in the party, Dinakaran told reporters here that he did not feel that he was being ‘sidelined’, asserting he will do his ‘duty’ for the party. His announcement on resuming party work assumes significance as the Palaniswami camp had earlier decided to keep him, and jailed party chief and his aunt V K Sasikala, away from the party affairs and government.
However, questioning their authority to sideline him, Dinakaran had in June last, after coming out on bail in the EC bribery attempt case, said that he would wait for two months for the merger of factions of AIADMK and then take up active party work. He had given the time-frame for merger after meeting Sasikala, serving her term in a corruption case in a Bengaluru prison, on June 5. He had then said that Sasikala had told him what to do in case the factions did not unite in 60 days and that deadline draws to a close on August 4.
Dhinakarn today said he will begin the state-wide tour after August 4 to strengthen the party ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2019 and ensure a big win for it. “I am going to tour the state to meet party cadres and people for party’s growth and for the party’s win in 2019 Lok Sabha poll,” he said.
On the merger, he said despite the time given, there had been no progress. “As a party worker and Deputy General Secretary I have a duty to work for the party and strengthen it.” Replying to a question, Dinakaran said he considered Palaniswami a good friend.
Responding to Dinakaran’s latest view, Finance Minister D Jayakumar said the government and party continued to be led by Palaniswami. However, he played down a meeting of party leaders expected later in the evening as “routine.”
Former Minister and Pannerselvam loyalist K Panidarajan said, “we are not saying no to unification…if the values (espousing which Panneerselvam broke away from the party) are respected that will happen.”
Earlier, a meeting of AIADMK Puratchi Thalaivi Amma led by Panneerselvam was held here. Ousting Sasikala and her larger family including Dinakaran from the party is the key demand of the Panneerselvam faction.