EPS and TTV camps locked in full-scale battle

The Edappadi K Palaniswami cabinet on Monday said that they have taken a stand to sideline AIADMK (Amma) deputy general secretary T T V Dhinakaran and the family from the party.

In Bengaluru, Dhinakaran, after meeting his aunt and party general secretary V K Sasikala, announced that she had asked him to wait for two months for the merger to happen, before resorting to any move.

Out from the Delhi prison on bail in the AIADMK symbol bribery case only two days ago, Dhinakaran had asserted that he would engage actively in party work since staying away did not help the merger of two factions.

The cabinet took the “unanimous” decision after two hours of meeting at finance minister D Jayakumar’s chamber at the Secretariat, and later with the CM himself. “We are under compulsion to clarify in the wake of Dhinakaran’s announcement that he would continue party work,” Jayakumar said, at an impromptu press conference, near the CM’s chamber.

Flanked by ministers, including party presidium chairman K A Sengottaiyan, and treasurer, Dindigul C Sreenivasan, Jayakumar recalled TTV’s previous assertion that he would stay away from the party and he would not cause any hindrance in running the government.

“On that basis, he should stay firm in his stand. We are very strong, firm and clear in our earlier stand going by our unanimous decision taken on April 17 (to keep the family at a distance). We do not have links with them,” the minister said, adding, “There is no doubt. We are running Amma’s government without their (family) intervention.” Ministers R Kamaraj, O S Manian, Udumalai K Radhakrishnan, C Vijayabaskar and Kadambur K Raju, considered to be in the good books of the Sasikala family, even after the arrest of the leaders in Bengaluru and Delhi, were present at Jayakumar’s meet. Animal husbandry minister Balakrishna Reddy met Sasikala at Bengaluru prison last month. “When Palaniswami is effectively running the government, we do not have any confusion. We are clear, so are our cadres. None will meet Dhinakaran at whatever level of the party they belong,” Jayakumar said.

Asked about the meeting of 15 MLAs meeting with Dhinakaran after his release from Tihar jail, and Sasikala in Bengaluru, Jayakumar said he was only reiterating that the government was not dependent on the family. “The problem before us is to ensure the completion of a full term of Amma’s government, and that it continues to be in charge of administration. That is our aim,” Jayakumar said, while his colleagues, Sengottaiyan and Srinivasan nodded in affirmation. Kadambur Raju, a supporter of TTV, said it would be improper for individuals to speak. “Yes, we all attended Jayakumar’s meet,” he said. Bhaskaran and Ramachandran said they would abide by Palaniswami’s decision for the “well-being of the government.”

In short, the message from the EPS faction was: We can manage the show on our own; please stick to your promise and keep away.

Dhinakaran’s supporters were upset. They warned that the ruling faction would have to pay a heavy price if they sidelined the family. “The decision taken by a handful of ministers is unilateral. If they force it on us, they will have to face the consequences,” said MLA and Dhinakaran crony P Vetrivel.


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