What You Need to Know About AIADMK’s TTV Dhinakaran
TTV Dhinakaran, born on 13 December 1963, is an Indian politician from Tamil Nadu, and the nephew of Former Secretary General of AIADMK, VK Sasikala. He belongs to the Thevars community, a dominant OBC community in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu such as Madurai, Theni and Tirunelveli, which have played a significant role in voting the AIADMK to power.
He joined the party in 1988 and served as a member of the Lok Sabha from the Periyakulam constituency in Tamil Nadu from 1999 until 2004, when he was defeated on that seat by Congress’ JM Aaron Rashid.
In 2009, he became a Rajya Sabha member, but only two years later, former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa expelled TTV, Sasikala, and 12 other relatives of Sasikala, from the party in 2011. No specific reason was given except that the family was interfering too much in the administration of the party.
TTV’s Rise After Amma’s Death
After Jayalalithaa passed away in 2016, the party split between those who wanted Sasikala, Amma’s closest aide and confidant to lead the party, and those who wanted O Pannerselvam (OPS), currently the convenor of AIADMK, at the helm. During this tumultuous time in TN politics, TTV was seen standing behind Sasikala during Amma’s funeral as a silent vote in her favour.
On 15 February 2017, Sasikala re-inducted and appointed him as the Deputy General Secretary of AIADMK. This move strategically came before the Supreme Court convicted Sasikala in a long-standing disproportionate assets case. Immediately after, he shifted to Poes Garden with Sasikala, where Jayalalithaa resided.
Once convicted, Sasikala was barred from becoming CM of Tamil Nadu. Her followers in the party unanimously agreed to elect Edapadi K Palanisamy (EPS) as the CM designate and expel all her opponents, including OPS and his supporters.
After this OPS fallout from AIADMK, TTV Dhinakaran was one of the main authorities in decision making in the party and the government.
A Cash-For-Votes Scam
On 12 April 2017, TTV contested as an AIADMK candidate in the RK Nagar bypolls which used to be Amma’s constituency. However, the elections were cancelled when the Election Commission found out about a cash-for-votes scam allegedly orchestrated by him.
He was charged with conspiracy and corruption when the police raided and arrested one Sukhesh Chandrasekhar, a man whom TTV had allegedly deputed to buy the “two leaves” party symbol for him from the Election Commission by paying Rs 50 crore. The OPS-led rival faction was also vying for this party symbol. TTV denied the allegation, saying he didn't know who the man was.
In a recent development, the Tis Hazari Special Court granted TTV bail on the ground that the police had failed to identify the public official allegedly bribed. When asked if the scam had led to dissent against this leadership within the party, he said:
In the meanwhile, OPS kept making many references to seeking a “merger” with the rival faction. In August 2017, it finally happened and the OPS-EPS factions merged to form the government.
After this, TTV was sidelined and only 19 MLAs showed support to his leadership in the parliament. The Chief Government Whip promptly called for their disqualification for “anti-party activities”, a move dubbed by the ‘rebels’ as an intimidation tactic. The case is currently in the High Court.