CHENNAI: Staking claim for the space that he was forced to cede after the arrest and subsequent imprisonment, a group of 25 MLAs owing allegiance to AIADMK deputy general secretary T T V Dhinakaran called on Chief Minister ‘Edappadi’ K Palaniswami at the Secretariat on Thursday, demanding that the party affairs be left to Dhinakaran while Palaniswami could look after the government.
Sources said the loyalists were closeted with the chief minister for about 30 minutes, during which the stress was on Dhinakaran returning to the helm of party affairs. They also put forth demands, including that the upcoming MGR centenary celebration, which the party aims to make a milestone event should be held under Dhinakaran’s chairmanship and that he should be given importance during the annual Iftar party. They indicated their decision on the ensuing presidential elections – which does not have a whip – would depend on whether these demands are met.
An MLA who was part of the meeting told Express that Palaniswami, gave them a patient hearing and promised to get back after consulting senior leaders. Later, Palaniswami went into an hour-long huddle with senior leaders, district secretaries and office bearers from his faction. However, Finance Minister D Jayakumar said the discussions were only about the centenary celebrations.
Dhinakaran’s shadow was visible at the Assembly too, when MLA S Mariappan Kennedy, described Sasikala as the perfect replacement for J Jayalalithaa. He then praised Dhinakaran as the guiding light.
Meanwhile, Dhinakaran called on his aunt and AIADMK (Amma) general secretary V K Sasikala at Parappana Agrahara prison at Bengaluru on Thursday afternoon. The meeting lasted for around one hour. This is his second meeting with Sasikala within a fortnight after being released on bail in the Two Leaves symbol bribery case.
On June 5, Sasikala had advised Dhinakaran to wait and watch for 60 days to see where the merger of the two factions of the AIADMK was heading.