AIADMK dumps Sasikala, Dhinakaran; merger talks to begin with OPS

Chennai: Four months after the demise of J Jayalalithaa, the AIADMK on April 18 decided to save the party from the clutches of “one family” by booting out party general secretary V.K. Sasikala and her nephew and deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran from the party, effectively meeting the major demand of former chief minister O. Panneerselvam.
After marathon discussions and back-to-back-meetings for the past two days, which saw participation of more than 20 ministers and a majority of the district secretaries, finance minister D. Jayakumar did not mention the name of Sasikala, the interim general secretary of the AIADMK, but gave enough hints that none from the family would be given importance in the party and the government. “The AIADMK was launched by M.G. Ramachandran and nurtured by our late Amma. The wish of 1.5 crore AIADMK cadre is that the party should not come under the control of one family and that no family should be behind the party. So, we have decided to sideline TTV Dhinakaran and those connected or related to him. We have decided to completely sideline TTV Dhinakaran,” Jayakumar told reporters after a meeting with Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisami.
However, Palanisami was not present when the ministers met the press. It was not clear whether the AIADMK would remove Ms Sasikala and Dinakaran from their posts or appoint successors to them immediately.
The decision by the chief minister, ministers, MLAs and district secretaries meets the major demand put forth by Panneerselvam on Tuesday morning that the Sasikala family should be kept out if the talks for a merger of the two factions should kick off. His other demands included an inquiry into the death of Jayalalithaa and election to the post of AIADMK General Secretary. The revolt by the top functionaries of the AIADMK came four days after they categorically told Dinakaran to keep away from the party so that both factions can unite and the ‘Two Leaves’ symbol could be retrieved.
Jayakumar, who was flanked by forest minister Dindigul C. Sreenivasan, municipal administration minister SP Velumani, law minister C. Ve. Shanmugam and Rajya Sabha MP, R.Vaithilingam, reiterated more than once that the decision to keep out the family was taken in the interest of the party and the government.
“This is the wish of the party ministers, leaders, MPs, MLAs and cadre. They want the party to be run by party members not by any family. Everyone agrees that Amma’s government should continue to take the state to a new level,” Jayakumar said. With the decision to keep the Sasikala family out of the party, a high-level committee would be set up soon to run the AIADMK.

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