In what could be perceived as a setback to AMMK founder TTV Dhinakaran, one of his key aides joined the MK Stalin-led DMK Friday December 14.
V Senthil Balaji, one of the 18 disqualified AIADMK MLAs, joined the DMK in the presence of its president Stalin at the party headquarters Anna Arivalayam here.
The defection assumes significance as it comes amid reports that Dhinakaran is finding it hard to keep his flock together in the backdrop of the October Madras High Court verdict upholding Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal's order disqualifying 18 AIADMK MLAs.
Despite attempts by Dinakaran loyalists to prevent Balaji’s moving away from Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam to the DMK, the leader left the party.
Dhanapal had disqualified them last year for revolting against Chief Minister K Palaniswami.
Reports claim that not all the disqualified MLAs are happy with Dhinakaran's decision to not to appeal against the Madras High Court order upholding their disqualification.
Balaji, Transport Minister in the previous 2011-16 AIADMK government headed by late J Jayalalithaa, was elected from Aravakurichi in the Assembly polls held in 2016.
But he was not inducted in the cabinet then. Balaji had represented Karur in 2006 and 2011.
Considered to be among those close to Dhinakaran, Balaji, who was AMMK organising secretary, did not take part in a party procession here to observe the death anniversary of Jayalalithaa on December 5
Meanwhile, TTV Dinakaran has written to his party cadre assuring them that the party will not face a setback because of an individual's exit. Dhinakaran had made a veiled attack on Balaji on Thursday December 13, saying none will repent if some with selfish interests were to quit the AMMK.
"The party will not suffer if a few, or even a faction, leave the unit for personal gains. Why should I regret if fake people leave my side?" TTV Dinakaran told his cadre.
Further Dhinakaran went of to compare dedicated party workers to "true gold," said no one will repent if gold plated "fake" were to move out of the party.
Balaji held discussions with his supporters in Karur constituency on Wednesday December 12, to chalk out plans but when he was asked by reporters on whether he is joining the DMK, Balaji maintained that make his position known later.
"Our foundation is Amma's (Jayalalithaa) ideals, and people's welfare is our task," the AMMK leader had said.
Without naming Balaji, he said it would be better if those who held views contradictory to the goals of the party eased themselves out of the outfit.
Considered to be among those close to Dhinakaran, Balaji, who was AMMK organising secretary, did not take part in a party procession here to observe the death anniversary of Jayalalithaa on December 5.
Meanwhile, another disqualified AIADMK MLA, R Murugan, questioned Balaji's decision to join the DMK, saying the late AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa had to face the disproportionate assets case which was filed only by the earlier DMK government.