National

Sasikala makes sure party remains in family hands

Shortly before she left for the Koovathur resort on Monday to meet the MLAs, Sasikala narrated to AIADMK workers the "plight of Jayalalithaa" who was accompanying the body of M G Ramachandran. "A few of Janaki's (MGR's wife) relatives pushed Amma from the vehicle and Jeppiar (of Jeppiar college of engineering) hit her on the back. He was tall and well-built. Dinakaran, who was just a small boy then, was standing behind him. He caught Jeppiar's hand and bit him.That's all he could do," she said, evoking loud applause from her supporters at Veda Nilayam, Jayalalithaa's residence.

Hours before she was to surrender on Wednesday, Sasikala chose her now grown-up nephew, popularly known as TTV , to helm the party as its deputy general secretary. In what could be seen as an ambitious move to wield control of the party despite her conviction in the DA case, she re-inducted Dinakaran along with another nephew S Venkatesh into the party. Jayalalithaa had expelled the duo along with 12 others, including Sasikala and her husband M N Natarajan, in December 2011 for committing "treacherous" acts. While Sasikala was re-inducted three months later, the others were not.

The emerging power centre was visible when Dinakaran sat by Sasikala's side when the latter met governor C Vidyasagar Rao on February 9 to stake claim to form a government, triggering a huge backlash on social media. The point person also accompanied Edappadi K Palaniswami when he visited the Raj Bhavan on Wednesday. "He is a good team leader and an acceptable face for the cadres as he takes everyone into his fold. There was talk among seniors that Dinakaran should take over as general secretary but that did not happen," said a former associate. It came as no surprise that Dinakaran became a war room manager for Sasikala.

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