KARUR: Opening a new front in the battle within the ruling faction of the AIADMK, V Senthil Balaji, a former minister and once an up-and-coming young leader from the western belt, announced protest against senior leader M Thambidurai and Transport Minister MR Vijayabhaskar for allegedly stalling works of a government medical college hospital in his constituency.
Interestingly, after announcing the hunger strike in Karur a week from now, Senthil Balaji met side-lined deputy general secretary TTV Dhinakaran at his residence in Chennai on Friday. Thambidurai is among the leaders who took lead in pushing Dhinakaran to the side-lines.
All three are from the Kongu belt – home to the group led by chief Minister ‘Edappadi’ K Palaniswami – where Balaji had grown in prominence during the last government when he was the transport minister. Following allegations, late Chief Minister and AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa had dropped him from the cabinet, though he was given a ticket in the 2016 Assembly election.
After staying quiet ever since, Senthil Balaji has come out with a protest at a time when the party is caught in a serious crisis. The reason he has cited is the alleged attempts to take the medical college hospital from Karur to another place.
According to him, Jaya had announced the government medical college hospital at Vangal Kuppuchipalayam village panchayat in Karur during one of her announcements under Rule 110 in the State Assembly on August 12, 2015. Subsequently, the GO was issued on January 19, 2015, and Rs 229.46 crore was allocated for setting up the necessary infrastructure. Tender was finalised, and Jaya even laid the foundation stone on March 1, 2016.
“However, work has not started yet due to Lok Sabha deputy speaker Thambidurai and minister Vijayabhaskar, who are trying to take the medical college hospital elsewhere,” Balaji charged in his statement.
To protest this, and seeking to start work on the medical college immediately, the minister and his faction members have announced a hunger fast before the local taluk office on April 28.