Feud in AIADMK escalates as suspense over Sasikala's swearing- in continues

Chennai
10 Feb 2017

Amid continued uncertainty over the swearing-in of V K Sasikala, the feud in Tamil Nadu's ruling party escalated today with the chief ministership aspirant sacking party presidium chairman E Madusudanan, who wrote to the Election Commission not to recognise her as AIADMK general secretary.

Sending a strong message to her detractors, Sasikala sacked Madusudanan from the primary membership of the party, a day after he switched over to the rebel camp led by caretaker chief minister O Panneerselvam, and appointed former minister K A Sengottaiyan in his place. Sengottaiyan was relieved as the party's organisation secretary, a post to which he was appointed last week. Sasikala urged the party workers not to have any truck with Madusudanan and said they should extend their cooperation to Sengottaiyan. Giving a major boost to the rival camp, Madusudanan had on Thursday extended his support to Panneerselvam, saying he wanted to "safeguard" the party. "To protect AIADMK, everybody should join hands with OPS (Panneerselvam)," he had said.

Sasikala had removed Panneerselvam from the Treasurer post immediately after his revolt, but he has maintained that being a temporary general secretary, she does not have the powers to appoint or remove party functionaries. Insisting that he continues to be the treasurer, Panneerselvam has written to banks not to allow anybody else to operate the party accounts without his consent. Sasikala had appointed another senior leader Dindigul C Srinivasan as the treasurer. Hitting back at the AIADMK chief, Madusudanan has written to the poll panel urging it to not to recognise her as the party's general secretary, saying she was not elected to the post as per party by-laws. Madusudanan told newspersons about the letter shortly before he was sacked from AIADMK by Sasikala for "acting against the party".

Asserting that only cadres can elect a general secretary as per party rules, Madusudanan said he had asked the EC not to recognise Sasikala as party chief. Expelled AIADMK Rajya Sabha member Sasikala Pushpa has already petitioned the EC against the election of V K Sasikala, saying it was not done as per procedure and the EC has sought the party's response to it. The AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala today expressed confidence that Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao will "uphold the Constitution and democracy". In her first comments to party functionaries after meeting Rao, at the Poes Garden residence of J Jayalalithaa where she continues to live, Sasikala credited the late chief minister for the AIADMK emerging as the "third largest party in Parliament (Lok Sabha)".

She asserted that neither that nor "Amma's government" will face the slightest of the setbacks. "With the cooperation of all, this movement will further flourish, so we need not worry. We hope the Governor will uphold the Constitution and democracy. We will wait and watch," she said. Sasikala's remarks came a day after she met Rao and staked claim to form the government in Tamil Nadu, while submitting a list of MLAs supporting her to the Governor.