AIADMK Crisis: First leader to be sacked post Jayalalithaa’s death opens up

Om Sakthi Sekar was the first to state openly that “the party’s permanent General Secretary is and can be only Amma.”

File image of Om Sakthi Sekar. Agencies

File image of Om Sakthi Sekar. Agencies

This was in the wake of late chief minister Jayalalithaa’s demise on 5 December, 2016 and the subsequent clamour by MLAs and party leaders for Jaya’s close aide and confidante VK Sasikala to take over as the General Secretary of the party.

Om Sakthi Sekar, former AIADMK MLA in Puducherry and the man who was the party’s candidate for the Nellithope bypoll – the controversial bypoll for which Jaya’s thumb imprint was affixed on his nomination form while she was hospitalised – was also the first AIADMK leader to be sacked from the party. Considered to be one of the strongmen of AIADMK’s party unit in the Union Territory, Sekar was sacked from the organisation for his “anti-party” stance. He had wept openly on the news of Jayalalithaa’s death.

Sekar has now put his weight behind former chief minister O Panneerselvam, who revolted against VK Sasikala on February 5.

But this did not deter Sekar, who is known for his unflinching loyalty for the late J Jayalalithaa and the party. The former legislator, who contested and lost against the present Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy in the Nellithope by-polls last November, says he is not at all concerned with the action taken against him, but is very much behind "Annan” (elder brother) OPS, “who should be allowed to rule the state of Tamil Nadu as public wanted him as the chief minister of the state”.

Recalling that Amma (Jayalalithaa’s moniker) had always chosen Panneerselvam as the acting chief minister when she was out of power due to legal wrangles, Sekar said the public and those who elected the AIADMK legislatures want OPS as the CM and not an unknown entity like Sasikala.

Sekar is an emotional man. He had once raked up a controversy by allegedly attacking a person for speaking “foul” of Jayalalithaa. “The party MLAs are now threatened, coerced and illegally confined in a resort by Sasikala and will support Annan OPS if they are allowed to express their choice,” he told Firspost.

Om Sakthi Sekar is known for his strength for working for the people of his constituency Nellithope by establishing a firm rapport with them by reaching out to them whenever an issue cropped up.

The former Indian Army soldier defeated DMK veteran and former chief minister RV Janakiraman in the 2011 Assembly elections in Nellithope constituency, but lost the 2016 polls to A Johnkumar in the same seat. Johnkumar resigned to pave way for Congress Chief Minister V Narayanasamy to contest as he was not a member of the Assembly when he became Chief Minister of the UT.

During the present crisis in the AIADMK party, Om Sakthi Sekar is firmly behind O Panneerselvam and hoped that party MLAs and cadres will come forward to pledge support for OPS. “The threat of disciplinary action makes them (four AIADMK MLAs and cadre in Puducherry) afraid to come out in support of Panneerselvam,” he said.

The former legislator says that only the family of Sasikala and her family members wanted her to be the CM of Tamil Nadu but the people’s heart is for Panneerselvam, who had received the blessings of Jayalalithaa.

“The MLAs are kept hostage and they do not know what is happening at the moment in the state as they have no access to communication. They better come out boldly and understand the ground realities, which will help them face the people in future,” he said and claimed that the number of MLAs supporting OPS will swell in the next few days.

“At present, they may be under the influence of wretched minds with ultimate selfish motives. But they should understand that they may have to face the people (in the eventuality of an election now or polls after four years) in future. Then these so called “protectors” will not be there for their rescue,” he said. Stressing that OPS has all the experience as a legislator and a rule, Sekar claimed that Sasikala was no match for him.

Pointing to the move to “take over” the Poes Garden residence of Jayalalithaa, Sekar said the Tamil Nadu government should take over all the properties of Jayalalithaa and do everything within limits of law to ensure this as the properties are encroached upon illegally.

“The ongoing tussle is between “Dharmam” (justice) and “Adharmam” (injustice), and Adharmam has an upper hand at the moment. But ultimately “dharmam” will prevail,” he added.

Interestingly, the AIADMK functionaries of the Nellithope constituency also switched loyalties to the OPS camp as they resigned “en masse” from the party. Led by party’s constituency secretary Ganesan, they gathered at the party office and burnt an effigy of VK Sasikala after beating it with chappals.

AIADMK MLA A Anbalagan and his brother A Baskar, who is also a party MLA preferred to wait and watch before taking a decision. Some time ago both had urged VK Sasikala to take charge as the party's General Secretary after Jayalalithaa's death. Former Rajya Sabha MP P Kannan, who joined AIADMK before the 2016 Assembly polls, quit the party a few days ago.

Party secretary, P Purushothaman said, “The Puducherry unit supports VK Sasikala for the Chief Minister's post as the cadres believe that she alone can fill the vacuum left by Puratchi Thalavi Amma (Jayalalithaa).”

“A former MLA's (Om Sakthi Sekar’s) opinion will not affect our stance. Amma's soul will never forgive OPS for betraying the party," Purushothaman said.

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Updated Date: Feb 11, 2017 19:44:11 IST

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