While Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami is trying to fend off allegations of bribing MLAs for support in the Assembly, TTV Dhinakaran continues to see a steady increase in support from legislators. Two more MLAs called upon the AIADMK Deputy General Secretary on Wednesday, according to The New Indian Express.
The support base for TTV Dhinakaran among the 123 AIADMK MLAs has now increased to 34. V Alexander (Ambattur) and E Rathinasabapathy (Aranthangi) reportedly met the leader and held discussions. In addition to this, functionaries from some southern districts also called upon him.
TTV Dhinakaran received a rousing reception when he returned to Chennai on June 3, after getting bail. He had been lodged in Tihar jail for allegedly attempting to bribe Election Commission officials to obtain the two-leaves symbol. Close to a hundred supporters, a band and even priests with garlands were lined up outside his Adyar residence, waiting for him to arrive. In the week following this, 32 MLAs visited TTV Dhinakaran.
Tensions arose within the AIADMK, with Minister Jayakumar maintaining that he was sidelined and alleging that the meetings were personal. Legislators however claimed that they visited TTV in the capacity of his being the party's deputy general secretary. MLAs who supported TTV alleged that Jayakumar's announcements were being made without any consultation with the Chief Minister.
With the EPS faction already facing corruption charges, this show of support for TTV is bound to cause further divisions in the party.