TTV Dhinakaran To Launch Party After A Year Of Turmoil In AIADMK

TTV Dhinakaran has been locked in a battle in court after his plea to be assigned the two-leaf symbol of the AIADMK was turned down by the Election Commission

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TTV Dhinakaran has claimed that his AIADMK faction was the "true AIADMK" (File)

Chennai:  TTV Dhinakaran, the nephew of VK Sasikala who recently won the by-election to Chennai's RK Nagar - the seat represented by Tamil Nadu's iconic leader J Jayalalithaa - will launch his party on March 15. The programme, where the name and the flag of the party will be unveiled, will take place in Madurai, the political capital of Tamil Nadu, which saw the big launch of actor-politician Kamal Haasan's political party, Makkal Needhi Maiam last month.

Mr Dhinakaran has been locked in a battle in court after his plea to be assigned the two-leaf symbol of the AIADMK was turned down by the Election Commission. The court has asked the poll body to assign a new name and symbol to the estranged AIADMK leader, who decided to launch his own political party after months of bitter feud with Tamil Nadu's ruling party.

"To overcome the hindrance put up by enemies and to bring back the success of revolutionary leader Amma, I am starting this political journey," Mr Dhinakaran said in a statement. "Let Tamil Nadu raise its head and the life of Tamils prosper will be our slogan to establish Jayalalithaa's principles," he said.

"Following the acceptance of our plea in the Delhi High Court, a function to announce the name of the party and introduce the party flag will be held on March 15 at 9 am at Melur in Madurai district," he said in the statement.

Over the last year, the fortunes of Mr Dhinakaran -- the nephew of Ms Sasikala, Jayalalithaa's longtime companion -- has been on a roller-coaster ride. The AIADMK had expelled Mr Dhinakaran and Ms Sasikala -- the number 1 and 2 in the party -- last year after she was jailed in a corruption case. But over the next few months, he was arrested for alleged bribery and then evicted from the party by Chief Minister E Palaniswami.

Their expulsion was one of the key conditions of the patch-up between Chief Minister E Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam following a rift in the party that started after the death of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.

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The 54-year-old leader lost the battle to unseat Mr Palaniswami and the 18 lawmakers who supported him got disqualified. But Mr Dhinakaran, who claimed to inherit the legacy of Ms Jayalalithaa, won a huge victory in RK Nagar, contesting as an independent in face of cash-for-votes accusations.

Even after the victory, Mr Dhinakaran had continued claiming that his faction was the "true AIADMK" and "E Palaniswami's government will fall in three months". His supporters said a large number of Mr Palaniswami's followers will change camp soon.

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