OPS faction claims first victory

Laura Christensen
April 20, 2017

Dinakaran refused to step down as party deputy general secretary arguing that he had to first consult his aunt Sasikala, party general secretary, who is serving a sentence in a Bengaluru jail.

The two warring AIADMK factions in Tamil Nadu inched closer to a merger on Wednesday after AIADMK "Amma" deputy general secretary T T V Dhinakaran was virtually deserted and the rebel faction led by former chief minister O Panneerselvam prepared for talks to join the government. Asked if he would gather support of MLAs and show his strength, he said, "I don't want to do anything against my party".

Speaking to reporters in Chennai, Panneerselvam played the "Amma" card and said it was important that members of the Mannargudi family be evicted if the AIADMK has to survive.

"We have made a decision to delink TTV Dinakaran and his family from the party, a committee will run the party".

"In a bid to keep the AIADMK cadres together and to keep the party cadres intact, it has been made a decision to stay away from TTV and Sasikala to carry forward the talks of merger with the rival faction led by OPS".

■ The Crime Branch had earlier arrested an alleged middleman, Sukesh Chandrashekhar, in connection with the matter.

Panneerselvam also said his supporters would not give up their demand for a judicial probe into the circumstance around former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's death.

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The two factions had since staked claim to the two leaves symbol which the Election Commission subsequently froze.

Before heading to prison, Ms Sasikala placed her nephew in charge of the party and a loyalist, E Palaniswami as Chief Minister. Panneerselvam broke ranks with Sasikala in February, alleging he was forced to resign.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Police is likely to send a team to Chennai with summons for Dinakaran, accused of allegedly trying to bribe an Election Commission official to obtain the "two-leaves" symbol for his faction.

He said this was the unanimous view of not only ministers, MLAs and MPs but also the party rank and file. "I appeal to them not to malign the party".

Police said Chandrasekhar had allegedly told Dhinakaran that he has contacts in the Election Commission who could help the Sasikala faction get the two-leaves symbol.

"I didn't bribe anybody", said Dhinakaran. "I will face it legally", he said. Given that there were accusations of widespread bribery from his faction of the AIADMK in the run-up to the polls, which were subsequently cancelled, this comes as little surprise.

Other reports by My Hot News

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