EPS fights back; says, AIADMK GC to be convened to sack Sasikala

Dhinkaran has already been sacked, says CM
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Agencies
Chennai
28 Aug 2017

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, today 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 had yesterday 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. Earlier, Hitting back at rebel AIADMK leader Dhinakaran, a meeting chaired by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami today said he was sacked from the post of deputy general secretary on August 10 itself and changes made by him in the party posts were invalid. Dhinakaran had "no authority or qualification" to remove those appointed by late AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa from party posts and his announcements in this regard were not binding on party affairs, a resolution adopted at the meeting said. The meeting, attended by Ministers, MLAs and senior functionaries, also adopted a resolution to soon convene a general council meeting that could pave the way for jailed party chief VK Sasikala's ouster. Dhinakaran, who is nephew of Sasikala, claims the support of 21 MLAs and is demanding removal of Palaniswami as CM since the merger of two factions led by Palaniswami and rebel leader O Panneerselvam on August 21. He has also been trying to reassert his position, effecting changes in the party office-bearers, especially district secretaries, a key post in the Dravidian party's hierarchy, bringing in his supporters. Incidentally, Dhinakaran had yesterday announced removal of Palaiswami as the party's Salem District Secretary. The Dhinakaran camp pooh-poohed today's resolutions, saying only the party's general secretary had the authority to convene the general council, the party's decision-making body. It also claimed they were not invited for the meeting held at the AIADMK headquarters and attended among others by Deputy Chief Minister and party co-ordinator O Panneerselvam. The first of the four resolutions adopted at the meeting said Dhinakaran had been "removed" as deputy general secretary on August 10, 2017 at the then meeting headed by Palaniswami. Dhinakaran being appointed as deputy general secretary by Sasikala before proceeding to a Bengaluru jail (in February) to serve her term in a disproportionate assets case, was not authorised by relevant party bye-laws, it said. Further, the Election Commission had also not accepted his appointment and these had been explained to Dhinakaran by "functionaries appointed by 'Amma' (Jayalalithaa)," it said.  They had made it clear to him that he cannot be appointed to any party post, the resolution said. "With the Election Commission so far not recognising V K Sasikala's appointment as general secretary, which was done as an interim measure, appointment of Dhinakaran as deputy general secretary by her and his getting involved in party affairs is against party laws," it said.(PTI)