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Sasikala set to become AIADMK chief

Clashes at party office on the eve of crucial AIADMK meeting, expelled party MP’s husband thrashed

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Updated: December 29, 2016 9:54:01 am
Sasikala, AIADMK, AIADMK chief, AIADMK new chief, Sasikala AIADMK, VK Sasikala, Sasikala Pushpa, Tamil Nadu, tamil Nadu news, India news Sasikala Pushpa’s husband Lingeswara Thilagan after he was assaulted at AIADMK headquarters in Chennai, Wednesday. (PTI Photo)

The crucial AIADMK general council meeting scheduled for Thursday is likely to elect V K Sasikala, close aide of late Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa, as the party General Secretary, a position held by Jayalalithaa for over three decades. Having no opponents or other contestants to the post, Sasikala has no threat to her elevation to the top post.

Party’s leaders, including district secretaries, have been asked to assemble in Vanagaram on Thursday morning for the meeting. District secretaries and leaders of various wings of the party have already endorsed the leadership of Sasikala.

Although the party has officially clarified that Sasikala has been the member of the party for a long time amid some petitions that challenged her authority to get elected to the top party post, senior leaders were not sure if she would be attending Thursday’s meeting.

“The meeting will be last for maximum two hours, mostly in her absence. A senior leader will propose her name, and it will be supported and announced that she is unanimously elected to the General Secretary post. The only confusion was about the designation since she had initially planned to retain the top post for late Jayalalithaa forever. But since the entire party has endorsed her leadership in the last three weeks, she is unlikely to constitute a new position for her,” said a senior leader.

Party sources at Vedanilayam, late Jayalalithaa’s residence where Sasikala continues to live, said Sasikala may be making her maiden visit to the AIADMK headquarters only on Monday or Tuesday.

“Her astrologer seems to have advised her two dates, January 2 or January 3, to take up the new role officially….,” said a source. Sasikala has been following the suggestions and advises of a not-so-famous astrologer Saravanan, a resident of Triplicane in Chennai city, for the past few years.

Meanwhile, a group of men, reportedly lawyers, sent by expelled AIADMK MP Sasikala Pushpa, were beaten up by party workers on Wednesday when they tried to enter the party office. The Rajya Sabha MP’s husband, Lingeswara Thilagan, was also assaulted by the AIADMK workers.

AIADMK supporters rained blows on Thilagan, who had stayed there despite being asked to leave. He was rescued by police.

The group of lawyers had alerted the media before their attempt to enter the party office. They were beaten up before TV cameras, even as police was seen struggling to control the mob. Those injured in the scuffle were seen bleeding when they were taken into police custody.

AIADMK spokesperson C R Saraswathi said that Pushpa was trying to create tension by sending people to the party office from where she was thrown out by Jayalalithaa four months ago.

“She is not a member of our party. If she wants to criticise the party, let her resign from the MP’s post first. All that she gained today was cheap publicity. She was trying to create a law and order situation by sending her men to AIADMK office when it was obvious that they had no business to enter our party office,” she said.

Nearly four months ago, Jayalalithaa had sacked Pushpa from the party following a series of controversies, including a minor scuffle between her and DMK MP Tiruchy Siva at the Delhi airport.

She was also blamed in party circles for her close links with a mining baron from southern Tamil Nadu otherwise known for his closeness to the BJP. After she was removed from the party, Pushpa made a controversial speech in Rajya Sabha alleging that Jayalalithaa had slapped her and forced her to resign from the MP’s post.

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