Madurai, Tamil Nadu: TTV Dhinakaran, sidelined AIADMK leader and VK Sasikala's nephew, has launched his political party In Tamil Nadu today. The announcement for the party, Amma Makkal Munnettra Kazhagam, was made in Madurai, the political capital of Tamil Nadu, which recently saw the much-awaited launch of actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan's party, Makkal Needhi Maiam. Mr Dhinakaran paid homage to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and sought her blessings before the big launch.
- TTV Dhinakaran launched his party in Madurai today
- Mr Dhinakaran said his party would capture power in the state
- Thousands of supporters of Mr Dhinakaran turned up for the launch
Mr Dhinakaran said his party would capture power in the state and unveiled the party's black-red-white flag, which features the image of a smiling Jayalalithaa in the middle.
Tamil Nadu Minister Jayakumar, however, dismissed his latest manoeuvre saying, "AIADMK is like a lion and Dinakaran's party like a mosquito on the lion."
Thousands of supporters of Mr Dhinakaran turned up for the launch. All the roads leading to Melur, the venue for the announcement, were chock-a-block. Life-size cutouts of Jayalalithaa, MGR and VK Sasikala among others were put on display.
In his brief address, Mr Dhinakaran recalled the difficulties faced by party workers in carrying forward their organisational work without a name.
Superstar Rajinikanth, who is currently on a two-week spiritual trip to the Himalayas, too, had announced he would launch a party and contest all 234 assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu in the next elections due in 2021. He is yet to announce the details.
Mr Dhinakaran won the by-election to Chennai's RK Nagar in December -- the seat represented by Ms Jayalalithaa. He defeated the ruling AIADMK by 40,000 votes. The victory of the 54-year-old, who tried to get E Palaniswami removed from the Chief Minister's post, was seen as a huge psychological setback for the AIADMK.
He 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.
Dhinakaran, won the RK Nagar Assembly bypoll, necessitated after the death of J Jayalalithaa as an independent candidate on the 'pressure cooker' symbol, had appealed in the court that he needed a temporary name and symbol for his group to interact with the people of the state in the eventuality of any elections.
The Delhi High Court, on March 9, allowed Mr Dhinakaran a common symbol, preferably 'pressure cooker', and a name of his choice for the AIADMK faction led by him.
Over the last year, Mr Dhinakaran was arrested for alleged bribery. He was then evicted, along with his aunt Ms Sasikala, from the AIADMK by Chief Minister E Palaniswami. Currently out on bail, he has denied the allegations.
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 J Jayalalithaa in 2016. The leader lost the battle to unseat Mr Palaniswami and the 18 lawmakers who supported him got disqualified.