The leadership row in the AIADMK fails to settle down. With TTV Dinakaran walking out of Tihar jail, the party, that is already a divided house, is splitting into smaller camps. Sasikala Natarajan and Dinakaran have given themselves 60 days to observe and plan their next course of action.
Dinakaran who met V K Sasikala in Bengaluru central prison on Monday told media persons that his aunt had advised him to stay away from the party for 60 days. "For the next two months, I will not interfere in the party affairs but I will be back after that. None has the power to remove me expect the general secretary. I am still the party's Deputy General Secretary," Dinakaran said. His statements are a far cry from what he had said prior to his arrest.
In mid-April when AIADMK Amma faction had announced that he and Sasikala would be kept away from party affairs, Dinakaran had claimed that he would welcome it. His tone, tenor and attitude were very different on Monday. From a submissive, helpless man in April, Dinakaran after meeting Sasikala on Monday seemed confident and determined.
The 60-day countdown has begun
The 60 days deadline is not just for Sasikala or Dinakaran but to party members who have jumped ships. MLAs Perambur Vetrivel, Aandipatti Thanga Tamilselvan, Sathur Jakkaiyan, Periyakulam Kathirkamu, Solingar Parthiban, Neelakottai Thangadurai, Ambur Balu, Kudiyatham Jayanthi, Radhapuram Enbadurai, MP Coimbatore Nagraj and former MLAs Vadivelu and Melur Swamy accompanied Dinakaran to Bengaluru on Monday. The rally was a show of strength that Dinakaran and Sasikala still have in the party. To have so many party leaders and representatives accompany Dinakaran to Bengaluru was to drive home a message that leaders in the party are still with the Mannargudi family. The family is confident that more leaders will return to their camp and those in the AIADMK Amma faction will extend support. It may be noted that despite asking for the family to stay away from the party and the government, AIADMK Amma faction is still submitting affidavits supporting their respective appointments to the election commission.
Edappadi Palanisamy plays a safe game
Before she went to jail, Sasikala Natarajan made two appointments. Dinakaran was appointed as the Deputy General Secretary of the party, a post created for him and Edappadi Palanisamy as the legislative party leader. Ever since talks of a merger between the two factions of the AIADMK got underway, Edappadi Palanisamy has refrained from talking about it in public domain. No statements have come from the Chief Minister on initiating merger talks. Even as his camp decided to yield to the demands of Panneerselvam camp to suspend Sasikala Natarajan and Dinakaran from the party, it was Jayakumar who made an announcement to that effect. Once again, Palanisamy did not make any statements against Sasikala or Dinakaran.
New developments in the next two months
Sasikala's advice to Dinakaran is 'wait and watch'. In this period, the aunt-nephew duo hopes to lure leaders back in their support. While money is not a concern for the family, political relevance is of prime importance. With Dinakaran vowing to return to party activities in two months, expect more leaders to shift loyalties and jump ships once again pushing Tamil Nadu to political turmoil.