Sidelined party Deputy General Secretary T T V Dhinkaran has dubbed the merger of two factions of the AIADMK as a “betrayal” of party general secretary V K Sasikala. Breaking his silence on the sudden developments leading to the merger of the factions led by Chief Minister K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam yesterday, Dhinakaran, in a series of tweets last night, also questioned the durability of the arrangement. “It is not a merger. It is a commercial agreement reached for self-interest and hunger for positions and to protect posts,” he claimed. Stating that his political journey would continue, he vowed to protect the party and retrieve its “Two Leaves” symbol which has been frozen by the Election Commission ahead of the now cancelled April 14 by-election to R K Nagar Assembly constituency.
Dhinakaran, nephew of Sasikala, said he was suffering from a sore throat and fever and had been advised rest and would meet media tomorrow. “Only god knows how long this (merger) will hold. In 1989, in deference to the wishes of cadres, Amma (late chief minister Jayalalithaa) was accepted as the general secretary and all united under her leadership,” he said. Dhinakaran was referring to the then reunification of the party after a split following the death of AIADMK founder and late chief minister M G Ramachandran in December 1987. The split ensued after Ramachandran’s wife Janaki was appointed chief minister and Jayalalithaa claimed the support of the cadres.
“But today, the cadres cannot digest the merger which is accompanied with the announcement that steps would be taken to expel the general secretary (Sasikala) who was accepted by themselves,” he claimed, adding that it was a “betrayal”. Dhinakaran claimed not only the AIADMK cadres, but even the public would not forgive “those who betrayed the general secretary who made Pannerselvam and Palaniswami the chief ministers after the death of Jayalalithaa”. Charging that it was Panneerselvam who was instrumental in the freezing of the AIADMK symbol, he sought to know how the cadres would accept it.
“How can they (Palaniswami camp) join hands with Panneerselvam who till yesterday was branding the regime ruling the state as corrupt,” he said. His tweets came hours after the factions merged and Panneerselvam, who had challenged Sasikala’s leadership, was appointed the deputy chief minister and his close aide K Pandiarajan a minister. After the merger, one of the leaders of Palaniswami camp R Vaithilingam had said that steps would be taken to expel Sasikala by the General Council, a key demand made by Panneerselvam.