Chennai: Sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dinakaran, who was released on bail last week in a corruption case, called on his aunt VK Sasikala at a jail in Bengaluru today as a first step towards reinstalling himself at the helm of the party.
- TTV Dinakaran was released on bail last week in a corruption case
- VK Sasikala has appointed him as AIADMK deputy general secretary
- He was AIADMK (Amma) candidate for Jayalalithaa's RK Nagar seat
This morning, he stressed that he remains number two in Tamil Nadu's ruling party and it is his "duty" to unite the party. To that end, Mr Dinakaran said, he would meet Ms Sasikala "not as a nephew but as her deputy" and start working with her advice.
"I'm the deputy general secretary of AIADMK. My return from jail is a comeback," Mr Dinakaran told NDTV, emphasising that the party cadre were firmly with him and he had no intention of retreating into the shadows. He also did not rule out making a play for the post of Chief Minister.
Mr Dinakaran, 53, appointed by Ms Sasikala as her deputy before she went to jail to serve a four-year sentence for corruption, was sidelined by the party as it attempted a reunion with a rebel faction led by O Panneerselvam or OPS, whose main condition for a merger was that Ms Sasikala and her family be kept away from the party and the government.
In the middle of his setbacks in the party, Mr Dinakaran was later arrested by the Delhi Police for allegedly trying to bribe Election Commission officers for the right to use the AIADMK poll symbol, claimed by rival factions led by OPS and Chief Minister E Palaniswami or EPS.
Mr Dinakaran - the EPS faction's candidate for by-polls in Chennai's RK Nagar constituency, left vacant after J Jayalalithaa's death - was accused of using a middleman to bribe poll officials. The bypoll was cancelled over massive irregularities; Mr Dinakaran says he may contest again when the polls are announced.
Just after his release from jail, he told reporters in Delhi that he was not expelled and that "only the General Secretary (Sasikala) has the right to expel anyone."
He said today that the line-up of cadre at the Chennai airport when he arrived on Saturday indicated his standing in the party. "They want me to be active," he said.
"After getting advice and instruction from my leader, I will act. I stepped aside to unite the party. But nothing changed even after 45 days."
Asked about Chief Minister Palaniswami's directive in April to cast aside him and his aunt, Mr Dinakaran said, "All legislators are my friends".
"The MLAs and ministers sidelined me because of the fear of someone," he added, without taking names.