Taking the ongoing political crisis in Tamil Nadu to the next level, the AIADMK’s top policy making body on Tuesday removed jailed interim general secretary VK Sasikala from the position and invalidated all appointments made by her. Sasikala’s ouster assumes significance as the government doesn’t have the majority in the Tamil Nadu Assembly. The general council meeting of the recently-merged factions of AIADMK also declared late J Jayalalithaa as the permanent general secretary and the powers of general secretary has been handed over to a steering committee comprising of a convenor and a joint convenor.
The General Council meeting also nullified the appointment of TTV Dinakaran and all the appointments made by him besides ratifying a slew of changes in bylaws and sub-clauses. The powers of general secretary will be handed over to the coordinator and joint coordinator, who are Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and deputy CM Panneerselvam, respectively. They will hold these positions till elections are held for the posts.
Soon after the AIADMK general council meeting, Dinakaran pledged to topple the Palaniswami-led government. “Its time, this government has to go,” he told reporters at Madurai. “I am repeating, only the General Secretary can call a GC meeting. Whatever happened at a marriage hall at Vanagaram today was not a General Council meeting but a mere meeting. This government has to fall,” he said, adding that all the MLAs supporting Palaniswami will eventually join him after the fall of the government.
Sasikala was formally elevated to the post of general secretary on December 29 by the AIADMK general council following the death of then party supremo Jayalalithaa. However, she was convicted in a disproportionate assets case and was sent to the central prison in Bengaluru on February 15. Before going to Bengaluru court, Sasikala had re-inducted Dinakaran and appointed him as her deputy. Dinakaran was expelled by Jayalalithaa in 2011 along with Sasikala, though the latter was subsequently re-inducted.
“Following an atmosphere of shock of Amma’s (Jayalalithaa) untimely death and concern, V K Sasikala was appointed as interim general secretary to attend to routine party work. This General Council unanimously resolves to cancel her appointment made on December 29, 2016. (It also) resolves that all those appointments and removals made by her between December 30, 2016 and February 15, 2017 are not valid,” the meeting resolved.
These decisions were taken after the Madras High Court declined a petition by an MLA owing allegiance to sidelined AIADMK leader Dinakaran seeking a stay on the key meeting.
Following the merger of the rival factions of Palaniswami and Paneerselvam on August 21, a senior functionary had said steps would be taken to oust Sasikala from the party post, a key demand of the Paneerselvam camp for the unification. This move sparked a rebellion by 19 AIADMK MLAs owing allegiance to Dinakaran, who met Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidayasagar Rao and expressed lack of confidence in the chief minister. READ MORE
In the wake of latest developments, the Opposition DMK moved the Madras High Court, seeking a direction to the Tamil Nadu governor to order a floor test for the Palaniswami-led state government in the Assembly. The petition by DMK working president M K Stalin demanded a floor test to be held under the supervision of an independent observer appointed by the high court.
At present, the AIADMK has 134 MLAs, excluding the Speaker, in the 234-member House, with 19 pro-Dinakaran MLAs having formally signed a memorandum before the Governor. On the other hand, the DMK-Congress-IUML opposition alliance has 98 MLAs.
With inputs from PTI