Rebel All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader TTV Dinakaran on Thursday floated a new political party, the “Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam”, named after late Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa.
“From today onwards, we will function with a name to retrieve the great movement of AIADMK from the betrayers,” Dinakaran told a gathering on the occasion, challenging the ruling dispensation in the state.
Dinakaran and his followers often use the word “betrayers” to refer to the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, led by Chief Minister K Palaniswami and his deputy, O Panneerselvam.
Announcing the name of the new party, “Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam”, roughly translated as “Amma’s party for people’s development”, thrice to a thunderous applause at Melur, Dinakaran said it was a party of the followers of “Puratchi Thalaivi Amma” (revolutionary leader Amma).
“This party will function in the name of Amma... The Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam will capture power in Tamil Nadu,” he said.
Before announcing the party name and unveiling its flag, Dinakaran traced their background.
He recalled that the original party name -- AIADMK -- and its “two leaves” symbol were frozen by the Election Commission, following a plea by the “betrayers” -- Panneerselvam and E Madhusudanan -- in March, 2017.
Subsequently, though the name AIADMK-Amma was allotted to the faction led by him, eventually it could not be used since the poll panel had allotted the party name of AIADMK and the “two leaves” symbol to the unified factions of Palaniswami and Panneerselvam last November, Dinakaran said.
“How long can the 1.5 crore cadres work without a name?,” he asked, adding that for the last four months, the party workers had faced difficulties in securing permissions from the authorities for party events in the absence of a party name and flag.
Under such circumstances, Dinakaran said he approached the Delhi high court, which directed the EC to allot the “pressure cooker” symbol and a party name of his choice to the AIADMK faction led by him.
Even during last December’s RK Nagar bypoll, which he won hands down with the “pressure cooker” symbol, “We made the rising sun (DMK’s symbol) lose its deposit, and the ‘two leaves’ (ruling AIADMK) managed to scrape through,” Dinakaran added.
Regretting that party general secretary VK Sasikala could not be with them on the occasion, he said he was announcing the name of the party with her greetings and permission.
Later, Dinakaran hoisted the new party flag on a 100-foot pole.
Party flag and Amma’s legacy
Dinakaran, who has the support of several dissident AIADMK workers and leaders, said the new outfit would capture power in the state and unveiled its flag, which features the image of a smiling Jayalalithaa.
The flag is black on top and red below with white in the middle.
The black and red colours are politically significant in Tamil Nadu and they feature in the flags of the two Dravidian majors -- the AIADMK and the DMK -- as well.
Making a pitch for the welfare legacy of late Jayalalithaa, Dinakaran said the people of “Amma’s constituency (RK Nagar) gave us a thumping victory” (in the bypoll).
Earlier also he had said the people of RK Nagar had chosen him as the successor to the late leader.
AIADMK mouthpiece Dr Namadhu MGR had on Wednesday refrained from using the word “party” and instead, used “organisation” to refer to Dinakaran’s outfit.
A name of the organisation, a flag and a symbol were needed till the AIADMK and the “two leaves” symbol, nurtured by “Amma”, were retrieved, Dinakaran had said, according to the party daily.
Former state ministers V Senthil Balaji and P Palaniappan, senior leaders such as S Anbazhagan, disqualified MLAs and Dinakaran loyalists, including P Vetrivel and Thanga Tamil Selvan, were among those who took part in the event.
Speakers at the meeting lambasted the Palaniswami-led regime and alleged that it consisted of “betrayers”.
Vetrivel presented a “veera vaal” (the spear of valour seen in the hands of Lord Muruga) to Dinakaran, before the latter announced the name of the party.
Clad in a white shirt, Dinakaran, in his characteristic simple Tamil, used popular phrases pioneered by late leader MG Ramachandran (popularly known as MGR) like “Ungal veetu pillayai” (I am your son) to connect with the people.
Like Jayalalithaa, he welcomed the party workers, saying, “MGR-in rathathin rathamana udanpirappukaley,” roughly translated as “you have mixed with my blood, you are my brothers”.
The phrase, originally coined by party founder MGR, had a magical effect on the workers.
After MGR passed away, Jayalalithaa had added MGR’s name as a prefix to the phrase.