Tamil Nadu: T.T.V. Dhinakaran’s party may change AIADMK dynamics
Chennai: The launch of a new party by T.T.V. Dhinakaran, independent MLA from R.K. Nagar and nephew of V.K. Sasikala, on Thursday may change the internal dynamics of Tamil Nadu’s ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), which sidelined him last year.
“The party name would be announced and the party flag would be unveiled at Melur in Madurai on 15 March,” Dhinakaran said on Sunday.
This comes just days after the Delhi high court ordered the Election Commission (EC) to allot the “pressure cooker” symbol that was used by him during the R.K. Nagar byelection in December and allow the use of a preferred party name.
During the hearing, Dhinakaran had suggested three names for his faction—All India Amma Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, MGR Amma Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and MGR Amma Dravida Kazhagam.
Last year in August, Sasikala and Dhinakaran were stripped of their party posts following the merger of the two main factions under the leadership of chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and his deputy O. Panneerselvam.
In November, the merged party was awarded the disputed “two leaves” symbol.
Dhinakaran had then said: “We will continue with our efforts to retrieve the party (AIADMK) and the ‘two leaves’ symbol. The EC awarded the party and symbol to the wrong people based on the support of MLAs and MPs. But, we have the entire cadre support.”
The thumping victory in R.K. Nagar bypoll in December, as an independent candidate with “pressure cooker” symbol gave a boost to Dhinakaran’s faction.
Dhinakaran recently stated that the intention to launch a new party was to function as “a registered political organization until we completely retrieve AIADMK.”
“It a temporary arrangement,” he added.
However, this has not gone down well with some of his supporters as a new party would mean that Dhinakaran would be deviating from the goal of retrieving the AIADMK and its official “two leaves” symbol.
“Though we would still be united under the spirit of AIADMK, this might bring down the confidence of the AIADMK cadres. However, we still hope that we get a positive verdict from the court,” said a leader from Dhinakaran camp, wishing anonymity.
After the allocation of “two leaves” to the united AIADMK faction, Dhinakaran moved the Delhi HC challenging the EC’s decision. While the verdict on the matter is pending, Dhinkaran in an interim application sought the “pressure cooker” symbol to continue the political activities as “a unified entity during the pendency of the challenge.”
Meanwhile, for the AIADMK which faced a jolt after its embarrassing defeat in R.K. Nagar, Dhinakaran’s new party would upset the dynamics of the ruling party which has been in a volatile state since former chief minister J. Jayalalithaa’s demise in December 2016.
Analysts said that Dhinakaran has emerged as an important force in Tamil Nadu politics. Irrespective of complaints of cash-for-vote in the R.K. Nagar bypoll, he has proved to be the preferred leader face for AIADMK after Jayalalithaa.
“There is a technical need for Dhinakaran to start a party to keep his supporters under one roof and the new party would only assert his position. Whether his camp would stay as a separate party or merged with the AIADMK in the future, remains to be seen,” said Aazhi Senthilnathan, a writer-translator based in Chennai.
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