AIADMK expelled coordinator O. Panneerselvam and AMMK general secretary T.T.V. Dhinakaran on Monday met and decided to have a “working arrangement” between their groups to “defeat betrayers, and the common adversary, the DMK.”
This would be similar to what the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the CPI (Marxist) had been having, according to former Minister Panruti S. Ramachandran, who is the political affairs advisor of the group headed by Mr. Panneerselvam. The move was aimed at “rescuing the AIADMK from the clutches of those who had nothing to do” with the fundamentals of the organisation, said Mr. Dhinakaran and Mr. Ramachandran at an interaction with journalists.
This was the highlight of the meeting that took place at the residence of Mr. Dhinakaran in Adyar, Chennai, wherein Mr. Panneerselvam, Mr. Ramachandran, former MP, S.P.M. Syed Khan, and the AMMK deputy general secretary and former Minister, G. Senthamizhan were among those present.
After Mr. Panneerselvam ran a campaign ‘Dharma Yudham’ in early 2017 to protest against, what he called, the control of former interim general secretary, V.K. Sasikala (Dhinarakan’s aunt), over the party’s affairs, this was the first meeting held in public glare. In July 2017, the two leaders met at the residence of a “common friend” in Chennai, the details of which became public in October 2018. At the time of the July 2017 meeting, Mr. Panneerselvam was leading the campaign and was also making efforts to merge his faction with the one led by the then Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, now the AIADMK general secretary.
Briefing journalists of the deliberations they held among themselves for about 40 minutes, Mr. Dhinakaran, Mr. Panneerselvam and Mr. Ramachandran said their decision to work together was a “reflection” of the wish of the rank and file of the two entities. “We are only fulfilling their wish,” Mr. Ramachandran observed. Mr. Dhinakaran emphasised that he had “no ill feeling” towards Mr. Panneerselvam and the two had been in touch with each other for quite some time.
As for calling on Ms. Sasikala, the former AIADMK coordinator said he would “definitely” meet her. The meeting could not take place now as she was not available and he was also leaving Chennai on Tuesday.
On the BJP’s role, Mr. Dhinakaran said there was “neither pressure nor advice” from the national party on the AMMK. Mr. Ramachandran said it was only Mr. Palaniswami and his colleagues who had been saying that their alliance with the BJP would continue. So far, there had been “no word from the national leadership,” he contended.
About the meeting that he had with Chief Minister M.K.Stalin’s son-in-law V. Sabareesan during a match of the IPL cricket tournament at the Chepauk stadium on Saturday, Mr. Panneerselvam said it was a “courtesy call” and the meeting took place in the presence of several onlookers.