WITH ITS government in Tamil Nadu still short of the 117-mark to establish a majority in the state Assembly, the united AIADMK on Tuesday moved to consolidate its position by sacking its jailed interim general secretary V K Sasikala from the top post. At a general council meeting, the ruling group, headed by Chief Minister E Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, announced that the late J Jayalalithaa would be the party’s permanent general secretary.
The meeting, headed by the AIADMK’s presidium chairman E Madhusoodanan, also cancelled all appointments and decisions taken by Sasikala as party chief between December 30, 2016, and February 15, 2017, including the appointment of her nephew T T V Dinakaran as deputy general secretary.
Besides, a resolution read out by Rajya Sabha MP R Vaithilingam, and seconded by all general council members, decided to nullify all appointments made by Dinakaran.
Responding to the latest development, Dinakaran said, “The time has come to send this government home.”
Speaking to reporters in Madurai, he said, “Only the general secretary can convene a general council meeting. Whatever happened today was not a general council meeting but a mere meeting of Chief Minister Palaniswami. This government has to fall.”
Attacking Palaniswami, Dinakaran said that the Chief Minister has betrayed Sasikala who appointed him to the post. “How will he serve the people now? If Palaniswami does not want Sasikala to be the general secretary, he should step down from the CM post bestowed on him by her. Let him get elected to this post again,” he said.
Referring to Tamil Nadu Governor Vidyasagar Rao, who is yet to respond to demands for a floor test in the Assembly, Dinakaran said his group would wait for “two or three days” before “taking the next step”.
AIADMK leaders said that in the absence of an active general secretary, necessary amendments were made in the party’s bylaws, with a steering committee to run the organisation. The committee would be headed by coordinator, Panneerselvam, and joint coordinator, Palaniswami, with other leaders such as K P Munusamy and R Vaithilingam as deputy coordinators.
The Opposition DMK, meanwhile, approached the Madras High Court seeking directions for the Governor to immediately ask the ruling party to prove its majority in the Assembly through a floor test. The petition, filed by DMK leader M K Stalin, also demanded that the floor test be supervised by a court-appointed independent observer. It sought directions from the court to prevent Palaniswami from taking any major policy decisions pending disposal of the plea.