CHENNAI: The ruling faction of the AIADMK with its thin majority in the Assembly is facing dissent from within. A group of MLAs led by three former ministers, including Thoppu N D Venkatachalam, held a conclave here on Wednesday, rattling the leadership.
“We raise our voice in a ‘satvic’ manner. If the top leaders of the party continue to ignore us on key issues, we will decide on the next course of action. We neither demand a position in the party nor the government. We will not do anything to harm the continuance of this government as it would go against the wish of Amma (J Jayalalithaa),” a former minister who attended the meeting told Express.
On what led to the dissent, he said, “For the last three months, no discussion is happening with most of the MLAs and many ministers and former ministers. We don’t know in what direction the party and government are moving. The top leaders do not consider former ministers on key issues. In the last government during 2011-16, we played key administrative roles.”
He said those who have been kept away by Jayalalithaa have now got prominence and cited the case of a senior functionary from the western belt who had been given much importance in the party and government. Even those who were not part of the Cabinet led by Amma have become prominent, he rued.
“Only when our role in the party is recognised by the top leaders and only when they take us also into confidence on key issues, we can take the party’s message to the people,” he fumed.
On whether they expect any positions, the leader denied saying he had turned down the offer of district secretary post of Erode urban district when MLAs were kept at Kuvathoor.
It is to be noted that there have been differences of opinion between School Education Minister K A Sengottaiyan and Venkatachalam for the past many years.
In July 2012, J Jayalalithaa who dropped Sengottaiyan from the Cabinet also stripped him of the party post and inducted ND Venkatachalam into the Cabinet. From then on, the tussle between the two continues. Now, Sengottaiyan has risen as the presidium chairman of the party. Similarly, in Karur district, former minister V Senthil Balaji has differences with Transport Minister M R Vijayabhaskar and Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha M Thambidurai.