As 21 MLAs of AIADMK loyal to sidelined party deputy-chief TTV Dhinakaran continued their rebellion within the party, Tamil Nadu chief minister E Palaniswamy called a meeting on Monday which decided to convene the party's general council. A decision to remove jailed party general-secretary VK Sasikala from the post is likely be taken at the general council meeting.
According to The Hindu, the general council and executive meeting will be convened on 12 September. Monday's 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 told PTI.
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, sources added.
Convened by Palaniswamy and attended by senior party functionaries and ministers, Monday's meeting also discussed Dhinakaran's recent shuffling of the party ranks, the sources said. Dhinakaran had removed Palaniswamy as the party's Salem district secretary on Sunday, besides sacking many other ministers from party posts.
But unfazed by the attack from the chief minister's camp, Dhinakaran continued to reshuffle party ranks on Monday.
Among others, Dhinakaran sacked cabinet ministers P Thangamani and SP Velumani as district secretaries of Namakkal and Coimbatore, respectively. He also removed their colleague M Natarajan as the district secretary of Tiruchirapally City unit.
Dhinakaran sacked member of Parliament Tiruchirappally secretary T Rathinavel too. Thangamani and Velumani, besides former ministers V Murthy, TKM Chinnaiah, BV Ramana and Mukkur N Subramanian were also removed by Dhinakaran as AIADMK organisation secretaries. Apart from announcing the reshuffling of other party units, Dhinakaran has removed MPs KR Arjunan and SR Vijayakumar as secretaries of Nilgiris and students's wing secretaries.
The Palaniswamy camp has rejected these decisions, saying Dhinakaran had been removed as deputy general-secretary on 10 August, and hence sackings and appointments ordered by him were not valid.
All the changes were being made with the approval of party chief VK Sasikala, Dhinakaran said in a statement.
Sasikala was appointed the interim general-secretary of the party by the general council at a meeting held on 29 December 2016, days after the demise of late chief minister and party supremo J Jayalalithaa.
On 20 August, when the two factions of the AIADMK, led respectively by Palaniswamy and current Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam merged, party leader R Vaithilingam said steps would be taken to sack Sasikala from the party, a demand raised by the Panneerselvam faction for the unification.
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 Vidyasagar Rao, and expressing lack of confidence in the chief minister.
Meanwhile, sources in the unified AIADMK said a team of ministers might approach the Election Commission to withdraw the affidavits filed in favour of Sasikala by the Palaniswamy camp before the merger. They might leave for Delhi soon, accompanied by aides of Pannnerselvam, they added.
The erstwhile Panneerselvam faction had earlier approached the Election Commission against Sasikala's appointment as party chief last year.
Monday'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 the two factions.
On Monday, Jaya TV hit back at Palaniswamy's camp for what it alleged was a threat by the ruling faction to wrest control of it and Namathu Dr MGR. The channel head's reaction comes in the wake of a party meet led by Palaniswamy and Panneerselvam wherein it was decided to initiate legal steps to ensure that the party-backed media houses continued to hail" Jayalalithaa.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Aug 29, 2017 12:08 PM