‘Traitorous’ AIADMK will be taught a lesson, aunt Sasikala is helping: AMMK founder Dhinakaran
T.T.V. Dhinakaran claims his party is the true heir to Jayalalithaa’s legacy, and the late CM’s close aide Sasikala is advising him despite ‘stepping aside’ from politics.
V.K. Sasikala, the close aide of late Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa, who was recently released from prison on the completion of her sentence for disproportionate assets, has stayed out of the heated political campaign for the assembly elections. But Sasikala’s nephew T.T.V. Dhinakaran, founder of the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) and former AIADMK MP, says she’s still closely tracking the poll campaign and advising him about the candidates to focus on.
“Naturally, she has been following the elections. I have been in touch with her,” Dhinakaran told ThePrint in a detailed interview. “She has been telling me the ground reality and the information she is getting through her sources. Wherever she feels candidates should concentrate more, she sends information and I follow that.”
The AMMK, a breakaway faction of the AIADMK, was formed in 2018, and Dhinakaran said his party, which is in alliance with the DMDK headed by actor Vijayakanth, will form the “true government of Amma“, referring to the nickname the masses and political leaders fondly called Jayalalithaa.
He added that he will teach both Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami (colloquially known as EPS) and his deputy O. Panneerselvam (known as OPS), a lesson for betraying him.
Dhinakaran also claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not understand the people of Tamil Nadu and, by extension, his politics won’t work here.
“The BJP may be popular in the rest of India but it does not understand the pulse of the people in Tamil Nadu,” he said. “You cannot play politics with religion in Tamil Nadu or force anything on them. The people of Tamil Nadu will simply not accept it.”
The merger that wasn’t
Dhinakaran’s aunt Sasikala was expelled from the AIADMK in 2017. On her release from prison in Bengaluru earlier this year, Sasikala received a rousing welcome in Chennai, but then announced her decision to step aside from politics, leaving many bewildered.
Many have attributed Sasikala stepping aside from politics to pressure from the BJP, but Dhinakaran rubbished this theory, saying she took the decision on her own. He said she stepped aside so that the AIADMK wouldn’t “talk unnecessarily about her”.
Nevertheless, Sasikala is still causing ripples, with Deputy CM OPS stating that he is open to considering her return to the AIADMK.
Sources in the AMMK told ThePrint that the BJP tried to convince the AIADMK to carry out a merger, but the latter was staunchly opposed. In fact, a source said “OPS was ready but it was EPS who did not want the merger”.
However, Dhinakaran denied this. “Me or my aunt never wanted to join their party (AIADMK); we never put in any application. But these people said they will never accept her. She felt bad and said she would stay away from politics for some time,” he said.
On OPS’s statement about being open to Sasikala’s return, Dhinakaran said: “This is all a part of election fear. They know they are going to lose, so are saying this over fear of losing the elections. If he had to, he would have realised it long back.”
‘DMK evil, AIADMK traitorous’
Dhinakaran believes his party is the true inheritor of Jayalalithaa’s legacy, even though the AIADMK uses her name and party symbol. “It is not travelling the same path as her,” he said. “We even have her gorgeous face in our party symbol.”
Dhinakaran is confident of his party forming the government because the people of Tamil Nadu “want change” and a transparent and corruption-free government.
Opinion polls show DMK chief M.K. Stalin is the front-runner to be chief minister, but the AMMK chief dismissed the polls as “doctored”.
“The people of Tamil Nadu will never allow him to come to power. Stalin will be a real DMK CM in that he will allow all kinds of atrocities in TN,” Dhinakaran said.
Referring to DMK as an evil force, Dhinakaran said the party did not care about law and order and only “believed in rowdyism”. “They used to come to power by accident,” he added.
For Dhinakaran, while the DMK is evil, the AIADMK is traitorous. He said the AIADMK was going against Amma’s path and that this was manifested in the AIADMK regime allowing NEET in the state and not paying attention to farmers.
Dhinakaran also said EPS was unfit to be chief minister.
“It is only because of support from the central government that he (EPS) has managed for four years,” he said. “Otherwise he is not a leader or chief minister material. This election will show that he is unfit to be the CM.”