Chennai: In a jolt to VK Sasikala, a meeting presided over by Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Thursday said the appointment of TTV Dinakaran as deputy general secretary was against party rules.
This is the first time that Palaniswami has made a categorical assertion about the status of Dinakaran's appointment by his aunt Sasikala on 14 February just ahead of her incarceration.
Formally expelling both Sasikala and Dinakaran was among the pre-conditions the Panneerselvam camp, which is also holding consultations on the possibility of merger, had made.
The move in both camps is being perceived as coming one step closer to a merger of the two camps by easing out Sasikala and Dinakaran.
Noting that Dinakaran's appointment was also under the scrutiny of the Election Commission, the AIADMK (Amma) led by Palaniswami wondered how Dinakaran could make new appointments at such a juncture.
On 4 August Dinakaran had made several appointments including that of his loyalists to various party posts. Citing it, a communique to the party cadres, said the meeting also asserted that such appointments being done by him "will not bind any AIADMK cadre to create unnecessary confusion in our party and such appointments are not valid under party law. Cadres are requested to reject them."
Significantly, the statement said, "Though Sasikala's appointment as general secretary was till such time the formal election of a new general secretary as per party laws, she could not function in view of extraordinary circumstances," an apparent reference to her getting jailed in the disproportionate assets case in February last.
Also, Sasikala's appointment was challenged and it is pending in the EC, the statement noted. Under such circumstances, the party was being run by top functionaries appointed by Amma (a reference to the camp led by Palaniswami), it said. Top functionaries and senior state cabinet ministers led by Palaniswami attended the meeting.
Following Jayalalithaa's death in December 2016, the AIADMK split into different factions. One faction is led by Panneerselvam, who rebelled against the leadership of Sasikala. The other two factions are led by Palaniswami and Sasikala.
The AIADMK camp led by Palaniswamy has continued to keep its doors open for the rebel leader O Panneerselvam-led faction to facilitate a rapprochement.
The merger talks between the two AIADMK factions are now inching towards its final phase.
According to a Deccan Chronicle report, after the merger, Palaniswami would continue as the chief minister while former chief minister O Panneerselvam would lead the seven-member committee to manage the party affairs till formal elections take place.
On 1 August, it was reported that the BJP was willing to play the role of mediator between the two factions of AIADMK. BJP has been trying to extend its base in South India by forming an alliance with the AIADMK.
It was believed that depending on the outcome of the talks, AIADMK is likely to join the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre.
With inputs from PTI.
Updated Date: Aug 10, 2017 14:09 PM