CHENNAI: The sudden retreat of the AIADMK-Amma faction’s de facto head and V K Sasikala’s nephew T T V Dhinakaran following pressure appears curious, given the Mannargudi family’s penchant for power.
Willing to take on the rivals - both the AIADMK-PT Amma led by dethroned chief minister O Panneerselvam and the DMK alike - ever since he was given the reins of party by aunt Sasikala on February 15 hours before she left for the Parappana Agrahara prison, the former MP representing the Periyakulam constituency moved around with enthusiasm and zest. He might have nurtured hopes of climbing up to occupy the coveted seat of power in the State when entering the fray in RK Nagar where the April 12 bypoll was cancelled following large scale bribing of voters unearthed by poll watchdogs.
The Election Commission’s midnight orders on April 9 dashed all his hopes and the Income Tax (IT) raids at Health Minister C Vijaya Basker’s premises preceding the cancellation of polls had a ripple effect, sowing the seeds of consternation among senior ministers.
Though performing his duties in the party with gusto, the Damocles sword was always hanging above Dhinakaran’s head in the form of the FERA violation case. The first blow that could have possibly rattled him came in the form of the Election Commission’s rejection of his replies submitted on behalf of Sasikala on a complaint lodged by the rival camp.
The Commission, in its March 3 order, stated that it could not consider the replies filed by Dhinakaran as he was not in the list of office-bearers of the AIADMK available with it.
Fretting after the IT swoop on the premises of Vijaya Basker, many of his colleagues were gripped by constant fear of the taxman’s knock. A warning conveyed through a retired top judge made the ministers from the western region of Tamil Nadu swing into action to protect themselves by jettisoning the Sasikala family, informed sources said. The booking of a case under certain sections, including 120B (criminal conspiracy) by the inter-State crime unit of Delhi Police on April 16 regarding the alleged attempt to bribe the Election Commission looks to have pushed him to opt out of running the party.
Yet, it is doubtful whether the well entrenched Mannargudi family would really ease their grip on the party, where they dictated terms for long.Is Dhinakaran’s ‘renunciation’ genuine or is it just a tactical retreat? Only time can tell.