Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam’s brother, O Raja, was expelled from the party on charges of “anti-party activities” on Wednesday evening.
The development came hours after Raja won the post of chairman in Madurai zone of Aavin — or Tamil Nadu Cooperative Milk Producers’ Federation Limited — by sidelining a staunch Panneerselvam loyalist.
A statement announcing the expulsion was signed by both Panneerselvam, who is the party coordinator, and Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, the joint-coordinator. Explaining that Raja was being expelled for anti-party activities, and bringing disrepute to the party, it stated, “No party cadre should be in touch with him.”
Raja and Panneerselvam were not available for comments.
While the party’s statement did not give details of the nature of Raja’s purported anti-party activities, a senior minister told The Indian Express that he had contested for the Aavin chairman’s post in Madurai zone even after Panneerselvam opposed his candidature. The post, this leader said, was meant to go to Chellamuthu, a local AIADMK leader and Panneerselvam loyalist.
திரு. ஓ. ராஜா (பெரியகுளம் நகர மன்ற முன்னாள் தலைவர்) இன்று முதல் கழகத்தின் அடிப்படை உறுப்பினர் உட்பட அணைத்து பொறுப்புகளில் இருந்து நீக்கி வைக்கப்படுகிறார். pic.twitter.com/DDedK1xsOq
— AIADMK (@AIADMKOfficial) December 19, 2018
According to the minister, after defying Panneerselvam’s decision, Raja “managed to prevent” others from filing nomination by using his stature as the deputy CM’s brother. “Some supporters of T T V Dhinakaran (expelled AIADMK leader who has now formed his own party) also stayed away from contesting to favour Raja, who got elected unopposed,” the minister said.
Panneerselvam did not oppose the decision to expel Raja since “he himself was upset, as Chellamuthu was promised the post”, according to the state minister.
A senior AIADMK leader close to Palaniswami said ministers R B Udhaya Kumar and Sellur K Raju first complained against Raja after he won the election, held on Wednesday morning. “They informed the party leadership that Raja had support of leaders from Dhinakaran’s party. They warned the Chief Minister that it would be a huge embarrassment for the party if it was seen as receiving Dhinakaran’s help to win an Aavin post. The party decided to take action, and Panneerselvam agreed,” the leader said.
Raja, who was tasked with looking after party affairs in Periyakulam, Panneerselvam’s hometown, and nearby Theni and Madurai regions, was earlier Periyakulam municipal chairman.
He is also one of the seven accused in the case of abetment to the suicide of a Dalit priest, Nagamuthu (22), in December 2012 in Periyakulam.
After Nagamuthu’s death under mysterious circumstances, the police had seized a purported suicide note from his home, accusing Raja and others, of abetting him to take his own life.