- Dinakaran is running AIADMK while aunt Sasikala is in jail
- He is named in corruption scams, prompting calls for his removal
- Sasikala faction of AIADMK now seeks merger with rival Panneerselvam
Mr Dinakaran, 53, is leading the AIADMK on behalf of his aunt, VK Sasikala, who is doing time in Bengaluru for corruption. He regularly meets her in prison to brief her on political developments. This week, he will have a lot to disclose. For one, he has been charged with attempting to bribe officials of the Election Commission. For another, the camp of the AIADMK that has so far been loyal to Ms Sasikala appears to be shifting away from her and towards her rival, O Paneerselvam aka OPS. Talks for a reconciliation have begun - with special focus on Ms Sasiakala and her relative.
"There can be no dialogue with Sasikala's family in the picture... the party should not be in the hands of one family," said OPS today, accusing the jailed AIADMK chief and her nephew of "mistake after mistake".
Mr Paneersevlam refused to quit and then the Supreme Court in February ordered Ms Sasikala, 60, to four years in prison for alleged corruption during Ms Jayalalithaa's first term as Chief Minister in the early 90s.
To keep her grip from loosening, Ms Sasikala placed loyalist E Palaniswamy as Chief Minister and her nephew, Mr Dinakaran, as Deputy Chief of the AIADMK. Meanwhile, OPS whittled away at the AIADMK to win over some heavyweights to his side, gaining credibility. In a big boost for him, the Election Commission did not decide that Ms Sasikala's faction - by far the larger and serving as the party in power - is the authentic or original AIADMK and is still considering the case.
Mr Dinakaran, whose link to corruption swindles is something of a trademark, was named in two biggies - attempting to "buy" the party symbol and indirectly orchestrating payouts to voters to elect him as the legislator from Ms Jayalalithaa's constituency.
That amplified calls for him to be sacked and ministers met late last night to initiate talks with OPS and company. However, a compromise has to negotiate the tricky question of whether OPS will be made Chief Minister if the AIADMK settles its differences. Sources say that if not, he may be compensated by being made the General Secretary of the party -the post currently held by Ms Sasikala.