Dhinakaran makes surprise visit to Delhi; sparks off political speculation

Last Updated 20 September 2020, 15:29 IST

Rebel AIADMK leader and V K Sasikala’s nephew T T V Dhinakaran made a surprise visit to the national capital on Sunday, sparking off speculation about a change in political equations in Tamil Nadu where assembly elections are due early 2021.

Dhinakaran, whose political stocks plummeted to a new low after his party’s poor performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, is understood to have made the trip to meet a top BJP leader, according to sources.

The AMMK leader took a special chartered flight from Chennai on Sunday morning, making his first visit to the national capital, probably for the first time after 2017 when he was lodged in Tihar Jail for allegedly trying to bribe officials of the Election Commission.

“He did take a chartered flight and is expected to return either late Sunday night or Monday,” a source said.

However, the sources did not divulge the “actual reason” for the visit, though the “sudden trip” set off speculation whether the BJP was trying to merge the AMMK with the parent party of AIADMK. Political observers said the visit is significant, but it will be too early to predict its outcome.

The sudden visit also assumes significance in the wake of efforts by Dhinakaran’s camp to get Sasikala released from the Parappana Agrahara prison in Bengaluru in the next few weeks, though the “probable date” is January 27 as mentioned by the prison department in reply to an RTI query. Her release might lead to political changes in the AIADMK as several ministers and MLAs owe their positions to Sasikala.

Sasikala’s lawyer N Raja Senthoor Pandian had last week told Deccan Herald that they will soon move a court in Bengaluru to pay the fine of Rs 10 crore imposed on Sasikala by the Supreme Court. He said efforts were on to get Sasikala released by the end of September as she is eligible for “remission” on grounds of non-availed regular leave.

Dhinakaran, who was banished by former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in 2011, was brought back into AIADMK and appointed its deputy general secretary on February 15, 2017, the day Sasikala left for Bengaluru to surrender before the authorities at the Parappana Agrahara prison to serve her 4-year jail term in a disproportionate assets (DA) case.

However, Dhinakaran was removed from the position in September 2017 after Edappadi K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam patched up and sacked Sasikala as the “interim general secretary.” After being removed from the AIADMK, Dhinakaran founded the AMMK and became its general secretary.

(Published 20 September 2020, 15:29 IST)

Follow us on