Amid the continued rebellion by 21 MLAs loyal to sidelined party deputy chief TTV Dhinakaran, a meeting of the AIADMK (Amma), headed by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami, on Monday decided to convene the party’s general council, where a decision to remove jailed party general secretary V K Sasikala from the post could be taken.
The meeting, which some of the party MLAs and MPs did not attend, also discussed the validity of the appointments made by Sasikala before going to jail in the Rs 66.6 crore disproportionate assets case, AIADMK sources said. Steps would be taken to consider removing Sasikala as the chief of the party at the meeting of the general council, the apex body of the AIADMK, they added.
Sasikala was appointed the interim general secretary of the party by the general council at a meeting held on December 29 last year, days after the demise of late chief minister and party supremo J Jayalalithaa.
Earlier, on August 20, when the two factions of the AIADMK, led respectively by Palaniswami and current Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, merged, party MP R Vaithilingam had said steps would be taken to sack Sasikala from the party, a demand raised by the Panneerselvam faction for the unification.
Today’s meeting, convened by Palaniswami and attended by senior party functionaries, ministers, MPs and MLAs, also discussed Dhinakaran’s recent shuffling of the party ranks, the sources said. Dhinakaran on Sunday had removed Palaniswami as the party’s Salem (Suburban) district secretary, besides sacking some other ministers from party posts.
Asked about the absence of certain MLAs and MPs from today’s meeting, the sources said some of the MPs were members of parliamentary standing committees and hence, could be in other states as part of their work. They though claimed that most of the MLAs were present. It was not immediately clear as to how many MLAs and MPs attended today’s meeting, chaired by the chief minister, to discuss the way forward to tackle the crisis in the ruling party of Tamil Nadu.
The AIADMK has 134 MLAs in the 234-member state Assembly with one vacancy. Currently, 21 AIADMK MLAs have sided with Dhinakaran and are camping at the neighbouring union territory of Puducherry after meeting Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao and expressing lack of confidence in the chief minister.
Today’s meeting also dwelled upon “retrieving” AIADMK mouthpiece ‘Namathu Dr MGR’ and news channel ‘Jaya TV’, both of which have been publishing and airing anti-state government reports, following the tussle between Dhinakaran and Palaniswami.