CHENNAI: On a day when rumours flew thick and fast that some rapprochement moves were on between the warring factions of the ruling AIADMK, sources told Express that a section of leaders of the official faction have raised dissenting voices over the state of affairs, which was set off by the income tax raids at the residence and premises owned and linked to Health Minister C Vijaya Basker.
Sources said there were heated exchanges during the meeting between many senior ministers and office bearers of the party. The meeting was called by deputy general secretary TTV Dhinakaran at his residence in Besant Nagar.
While two senior ministers from the western belt demanded that Vijaya Basker should be dropped from the State Cabinet keeping in mind the interest of the party, Dhinakaran did not approve of it. The ministers also counselled Dhinakaran to ‘keep away’ from the political scene to safeguard the party and government, pointing out that the Centre was targeting him next.
However, another leader, a former minister from Kanyakumari, vehemently opposed this, which triggered heated exchanges between them.
Sources also added that a group of senior ministers met Chief Minister ‘Edappadi’ K Palaniswami at his residence to urge him to drop Vijaya Basker.
However, answering queries mediapersons later, Dhinakaran denied reports about the rift. Asked about rumours that a section of ministers were of the view that he should stay away from the party to protect it and that they were ready to stage a fast to press it at Jayalalithaa memorial, Dhinakaran said, “I have not received any such information. All ministers in Chennai have called on me today to convey Tamil New Year greetings.”
When asked about the I-T raids on Vijaya Basker’s house and other places, Dhinakaran said the minister had clarified that he had not done anything wrong. Vijaya Basker was not present during the meeting during the day because he had gone to his native Pudukkottai to celebrate the new year, Dhinakaran maintained, adding that there was no plans for a reshuffle in the State Cabinet.
Opposition parties have been demanding Vijaya Basker’s ouster following the raids, which Dhinakaran termed as unfair. “The documents produced by the I-T department is not sufficient for dismissal of the government,” he insisted.
Responding to a question as to whether he perceived the interference of Central government on the freezing of the Two Leaves symbol and the I-T raids, Dhinakaran said: “As far as I know, the Central government has no role in these developments. The dispute over Two Leaves symbol originated from the complaint filed by our opponents and Centre has no role in it.”