Rebel AIADMK leader and former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Wednesday described the ministers' revolt against the rival Amma faction leader TTV Dhinakaran as the "first success" of his "dharma yudh" against V K Sasikala.
Summary: "I don't want to show the strength", he said.Asked whether he thought the BJP had pressurised the ministers to revolt against him, Dhinakaran said: "You should ask them".
Dinakaran said that since everyone had made a decision to keep him out of the party affairs, he had chose to stay out. "This is our faction's first victory that Sasikala and her family have been ousted from the party", Panneerselvam told the media.
"I have no regrets because I don't have any expectations", he added.
Amid moves to sideline him, Mr Dinakaran rushed back from Bengaluru without meeting his aunt as he had intended and called a meeting of legislators at the AIADMK headquarters in Chennai. "We, which include the Chief Minister, Ministers, MLAs, MPs, district secretaries, head quarters office bearers, grass root level office bearers, have come together and took a unanimous decision to keep Dinakaran and family away from the party affairs".
"Due to some unknown fear, the ministers have taken the decision", he remarked.
General Secretary Sasikala Natarajan and her nephew and Deputy Gen. Secretary TTV Dinakaran were thrown out of Tamil Nadu's ruling party after several hours of dramatic developments late on Tuesday.
Panneerselvam had filled-in for Jayalalithaa as Chief Minister thrice in the past, twice when she had to go to jail in corruption cases and once when she was on her death bed.
Delhi Police have booked the AIADMK deputy general secretary for allegedly trying to bribe an Election Commission official to get the party's "two leaves" symbol allotted to his group.
Dhinakaran, however, blamed Bharatiya Janata Party for creating confusion within the party.
Before heading to prison, Ms Sasikala placed her nephew in charge of the party and a loyalist, E Palaniswami as Chief Minister. He was apparently referring to the possible angst in the party following income tax raids at Health Minister C Vijayabaskar's premises ahead of the assembly bypoll to the RK Nagar seat which was countermanded following allegations of bribing and inducement of voters.
Palanisamy later said Panneerselvam's demand is not something new, adding this has been their position from day one. Also, Nanjil Sampath and Tamil Magan Hussein, senior leaders in the party, held meetings with Dinakaran.
Senior Ministers D. Jayakumar, K.A. Sengottaiyan, Dindigul C. Sreenivasan, among others were part of the meeting chaired headed by Mr. Palaniswami, sources said.