EPS-OPS loyalists blamed TTV Dhinakaran and AMMK cadres for the slipper thrown at the former CM’s car outside the Jayalalithaa memorial on the late CM’s fifth death anniversary

Slipper flung at EPS outside Jaya memorial
news Politics Sunday, December 05, 2021 - 18:56

Cadres of the TTV Dhinakaran-led Amma Makkal Munnetra Katchi (AMMK) appeared to be seen on camera throwing a slipper at former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami’s (EPS) car, as he was leaving the Jayalalithaa memorial on Marina Beach. EPS and AIADMK co-coordinator and former Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam (OPS) had visited the memorial earlier on Sunday, December 5, to commemorate late CM Jayalalithaa’s fifth death anniversary. The AIADMK has filed a police complaint alleging that the AMMK cadres had been incited into this behaviour by Dhinakaran.

The incident took place on Sunday morning near Anna Square where cadres from AMMK and AIADMK had assembled. According to Sun News TV channel, cadres from both sides were engaged in raising slogans against each other’s leaders when a slipper landed on the windshield of EPS’s car. Following this, T Maran from the AIADMK filed a complaint at the D5 Marina Beach Police Station.

In the complaint, Maran alleged that AMMK cadres had gathered “in the hundreds with iron rods, wooden sticks and similar weapons”. He also alleged that stones, slippers and wooden sticks were used and that he had sustained an injury on his shoulder. He further alleged verbal threats to him from the AMMK cadres during the incident. It is reported that two or three AIADMK cadres have sustained injuries, though the severity of the injuries remains unclear.

The AMMK was founded in 2018 by former RK Nagar MLA and once AIADMK deputy general secretary TTV Dhinakaran, who also happens to be the nephew of Jayalalithaa’s former aide Sasikala. The AIADMK had factionalised following Jayalalithaa’s death in December 2016. Months after Sasikala was convicted in the Disproportionate Assets case, EPS – who was considered to be her “trusted lieutenant” – made amends with the leader of the rival faction OPS. Both Sasikala and Dhinakaran were ousted from their respective posts in the AIADMK, while the two factions merged in August 2017.

Dhinakaran formed the AMMK after losing the AIADMK two-leaf symbol to EPS-OPS when the Election Commission of India ruled in the latter’s favour. At Madurai during the launch, Dhinakaran had declared, “A political party is needed to retrieve the AIADMK from the clutches of traitors. We need a registered political party to fully retrieve the AIADMK from the present rulers.” He had also previously claimed that EPS and OPS were not following the principles of Jayalalithaa. In line with this argument, the AMMK flag bore Jayalalithaa’s profile on a field of red, black and white just as the AIADMK flag similarly features late chief minister and founder of the DMK, CN Annadurai.

Many will remember that following her imprisonment, Sasikala was sidelined from her leadership position in the AMMK. She had initially been named the general secretary and TTV, the deputy general secretary. In 2019, though, TTV took over his aunt’s position after internal elections.

Since the time of her release from prison earlier this year, Sasikala has been seen attempting to regain her erstwhile hold over the AIADMK in several ways, including unveiling a plaque crediting her as the party’s general secretary at the MGR memorial. The move was seen as significant given that the post of general secretary no longer exists in the AIADMK. A 2017 amendment by EPS and OPS to the party’s byelaws did away with the position, naming Jayalalithaa as the permanent general secretary.

Sunday’s memorial function led by EPS and OPS was attended by senior AIADMK leaders, including former MPs and MLAs. Floral tributes were paid and both leaders and cadres took a pledge to “protect the party from ‘enemies’, adding that the latter will not be allowed to win again”.

Sasikala too visited the memorial to pay her respects accompanied by her loyalists in the AIADMK and AMMK cadres.

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