With Dhinakaran, appointed by Sasikala, going back on his earlier assurance to withdraw from party affairs, the ministers and senior party functionaries yesterday held a meeting and reiterated their opposition to him.
The Palaniswami government won the trust vote in February with the backing of 122 MLAs following the withdrawal of former chief minister O. Panneerselvam and 11 legislators from his AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) faction. "It is the government of Amma's [Jayalalithaa] and Chinnamma [interim general secretary Sasikala]".
After Tamil Nadu Ministers said on April 18 that they were dumping the top duo, Dhinakaran had said he was stepping aside in deference to their wish.
Two more MLAs has expressed their support to TTV Dinakaran. "It is a matter of time for the other five to come out", he said.
He was scheduled to meet Sasikala to "apprise" her of the "situation after 45 days", he said in an apparent reference to his being lodged in Tihar jail in Delhi in connection with the bribery case.
If Mr. Thangatamilselvan's claim were to be true, the number of MLAs supporting Mr. Palaniswami would go down to 96. While Finance Minister D Jayakumar, representing the ruling faction led by Palaniswamy, chose to stick to its already pronounced stand - to have no truck with Dinakaran and his kin - the latter challenged the Palaniswamy faction saying the ministers were scared of someone and his aunt VK Sasikala has asked him to wait before deciding on further course of action. Two other Cabinet colleagues are learnt to be standing by Dinakaran, besides several MLAs - these, he said, include at least two former ministers. The MLAs started joining Dinakaran's group after Palaniswamy suggested that Dinakaran and Sasikala were expelled from the party and no one should contact them.
Thanga Tamilselvan, a known loyalist of Dhinakaran, said only Sasikala and Dhinakaran were authorised to decide on party matters.
The MLAs met Dhinakaran amid the stand-off between him and the Palaniswami camp, which has revolted against him and jailed party general secretary V K Sasikala and made a decision to keep them away from the party affairs. "They have no role in the party, or the government". "I am sure all party leaders will come together seeing the sentiments of people", he said.