AIADMK's TTV Dinakaran To Meet Aunt VK Sasikala in Jail Today, Says No Rebellion In Party

AIADMK's TTV Dinakaran To Meet Aunt VK Sasikala in Jail Today, Says No Rebellion In Party

AIADMK's TTV Dinakaran will meet his aunt VK Sasikala in Bengaluru jail today (File photo)

Chennai:  TTV Dinakaran, deputy chief of Tamil Nadu's ruling party the AIADMK Amma, is headed to Bengaluru to meet his boss and aunt VK Sasikala, who is in jail in a corruption case. He has described it as a "routine meeting" and stated emphatically this morning that he and Ms Sasikala face no rebellion within the party. He also denied the Delhi Police allegation that he wanted to bribe Election Commission officials for the AIADMK's Two-Leaf symbol, also claimed by a rival faction of the party headed by former chief minister O Panneerselvam.

"I am meeting general secretary Sasikala at the Bengaluru jail. It's a routine meeting," Mr Dinakaran told NDTV today, adding, "There is no rebellion against me, there is no threat to my leadership. There is no question of quitting."

There is pressure reportedly from within the Sasikala faction, with leaders and lawmakers suggesting that recent allegations of corruption against Mr Dinakaran are hurting the party. Mr Dinakaran, sources said, has also stonewalled all attempts at making peace with the faction led by Mr Panneerselvam or OPS.

Some worried lawmakers from the Sasikala camp, sources said, have handed an ultimatum to Mr Dinakaran and other members of his family - collectively referred to as the Mannargudi Mafia after the village they are from - to step down. Ms Sasikala, the closest companion for years of former AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa, had in February appointed Mr Dinakaran and the others to key posts just before she left Chennai for the Bengaluru jail.

Mr Dinakaran has vowed to fight the charges of corruption and conspiracy made against him in the DElhi Police first information report or FIR "legally" and alleged that efforts were being made to "destroy our organisation politically".

The case was filed after the arrest from a five-star hotel in the capital of a man named Sukesh Chandrasekar, who has allegedly said that Mr Dinakaran had contracted him to bribe poll panel officials for being granted the right to use the AIADMK symbol.

Mr Dinakaran said he does not know Sukesh Chandrasekar and "I will answer if I get summons. I will face it legally."

The Election Commission had frozen the Two-Leaf symbol assigning it to neither faction for a by-election that was to be held last week in Chennai's RK Nagar assembly constituency, made vacant in December by the death of Ms Jayalalithaa, who was Tamil Nadu chief minister.

Her party split weeks after she died, and both factions fielded candidates for the RK Nagar election, which was cancelled after allegations that Mr Dinakaran, who was his party's candidate in RK Nagar, had tried to bribe voters. Mr Dinakaran has denied all charges and said he has been framed.

Mr Panneerselvam has challenged Mr Sasikala's elevation as the AIADMK's interim general secretary soon after Ms Jayalalithaa's death and has called the re-induction of Mr Dinakaran and other family members into the party after MS Jayalalithaa's death a "betrayal of Amma." Years ago, Ms Sasikala had to publicly disown them to reconcile with Ms Jayalalithaa.

Earlier this year, Mr Panneerselvam had failed to win the support of more than a handful party leaders and lawmakers, with a big majority of them siding with Ms Sasikala, who ensured that her proxy E Pallanisami was chosen to be Tamil Nadu's Chief Minster.
The Election Commission will decide on the OPS faction's appeal that Ms Sasikala's election as AIADMK chief is invalid. The EC's decision on Ms Sasikala will also impact Mr Dinakaran's status in the party.

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