The ensuing showdown erupted at the J. Jayalalithaa memorial at the Marina Beach.
Chennai: The announcement of the merger of two factions of the AIADMK, and the imminent ouster of party general secretary V.K. Sasikala, triggered the explosion of the simmering revolt captained by her nephew T.T.V. Dhinakaran.
Mr Dhinakaran, who was recently divested of his party deputy general secretary post by the chief minister, had met his jailed aunt at Parappana Agrahara prison in Bengaluru on Saturday to discuss strategy in case of her expulsion. The ensuing showdown erupted at the J. Jayalalithaa memorial at the Marina Beach.
While Mr Dhinakaran himself chose to stay at home, tweeting that doctors had advised him to rest due to his sore throat and fever, 18 loyal legislators drove for a sit-in protest at the Amma memorial following marathon discussions with his Adyar residence.
Two others in his camp could not make it as they were away in their home constituencies.
The MLAs asserted that none in the AIADMK has the power to remove or sack the general secretary according to the by-laws of the party.
“We are meeting the Governor at 10 tomorrow morning,” Perambur MLA Vetrivel announced, ominously, after the 20-minute “dhyanam”.
MLAs owing allegiance to him will inform Governor CH Vidyasagar Rao of their “lack of confidence” in the EPS-OPS government.
Andipatti MLA Thanga Tamilselvan said it was Mr Panneerselvam, Mr Palaniswami and ministers like D. Jayakumar who had moved the resolution to appoint Ms Sasikala as interim general secretary and later nominated her as the AIADMK legislature party leader.
“It was Panneerselvam and his MLAs who voted against this Edappadi K. Palaniswami government installed by Chinamma. Chinamma spent two days with us and elected Palaniswami as the leader of the AIADMK legislature party. We all voted for Palaniswami because of his nomination by Chinamma,” he said and accused of the chief minister of “not consulting them” before admitting OPS back into the party.
The MLA said Mr Dhinakaran has the support of 25 MLAs, but only 18 turned up at his residence expressing their supporting to him.
“Edappadi would not have won the trust vote (on February 18) if MLAs like us had not voted. He should understand that but he has joined hands with the person (Panneerselvam) who split the party, froze the ‘Two Leaves’ symbol and called this government corrupt,” Thanga Tamilselvan said.