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AIADMK tweaks bylaws, seeks to shut door on V K Sasikala

CHENNAI: The main opposition AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, which is facing challenge from eased out leader V K Sasikala, on Wednesday amended its bylaws to strengthen norms to retain the present leadership structure of top two positions held by O Panneerselvam and K Palaniswami.

The party also harped on ‘unity,’ and strengthening the ‘hands of party’s top leaders’ and to work hard to win future elections.

The amendments to bylaws at the Executive Committee meeting of the AIADMK held here, effectively closes the door on Sasikala, who has claimed to be the party ‘general secretary,’ a post last held by the late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa who died in December 2016.

The commencement of the year long golden jubilee celebrations of the AIADMK on October 17 witnessed a vigorous attempt by Sasikala, confidante of Jayalalithaa, to get back control of the party, when she declared herself as its general secretary, which was strongly resisted by the party leadership.

While amendments made in 2017 bestowed all the powers vested with the top position of general secretary to the then newly created positions of party coordinator (Panneerselvam) and joint coordinator (Palaniswami), the current tweaks further strengthen that top party structure.

The first amendment mandates a ‘single vote’ by ‘primary members’ to elect the top leadership, which is the two positions of coordinator and joint coordinator.

While the posts are two, there cannot be separate votes, as the twin positions together constitute the party top leadership.

According to the AIADMK, Sasiakala is not a member of the party, though she has claimed to be the general secretary.

Senior leader D Jayakumar told reporters that only those who have been primary members for five years or more are eligible to vote to elect the party leadership.

The next amendment makes it clear that the fundamental rule that the party leadership can only be elected by the primary AIADMK members could neither be changed nor modified or revised.

The third amendment declares that ‘exemption’ or ‘relaxation’ cannot be made to the basic norm of members alone electing the AIADMK leadership.

The fresh amendments to bylaw takes immediate effect, a special resolution adopted for this purpose at the EC meet said adding approval would be sought for such decisions in the next party general council meeting.

The special resolution to make amendments were proposed by seven senior leaders including the two deputy coordinators KP Munusamy and R Vaithilingam besides veterans, KA Sengottaiyan and C Ponnaiyan, both party organising secretaries. The resolution was adopted unanimously, being seconded by all the executive committee members.

The EC meet was presided by Panneerselvam and Palaniswami, both former chief ministers of the state. Munusamy, considered close to Panneereselvam and Vaithilingam, seen as a confidant of Palaniswami occupied top slots in the meeting held at party headquarters here, rechristened recently after its founder M G Ramachandran as ‘Puratchi Thalaivar MGR Maaligai’.

On October 17, Sasikala had unfurled the AIADMK flag at the T Nagar memorial of the party founder and a plaque unveiled on the occasion addressed her as party ‘general secretary’ which was dismissed by the AIADMK leadership as a mere claim that had no binding effect on the party.

On that day, Panneerselvam and Palaniswami had presided over the inaugural of the jubilee fete at the party headquarters.

Subsequently, Palaniswami had rejected her claims and ruled out scope for her return. Later, Panneerselvam had said the party leadership would hold discussions and take a decision on re-admitting her. This was however opposed immediately by leaders like Jayakumar and Munusamy.

Sasikala had returned to Tamil Nadu on February 8, 2021 after completing her four year sentence that commenced in February 2017 in a disproportionate assets case in a Bengaluru prison.

A case filed by her, challenging the 2017 AIADMK general council resolutions, including removing her from the post of interim general secretary, is pending in a Chennai court.

Though she had announced ahead of the April 6 Assembly election, that she would stay away from politics, in May she hinted at resumption of efforts to regain control of the AIADMK.

Audio clips of her interactions with her supporters and some AIADMK workers also surfaced following which AIADMK men faced disciplinary action. Sasikala’s nephew and another former AIADMK leader, TTV Dhinakaran who backs her claim to AIADMK leadership, heads the outfit Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK).

In the AIADMK meet held on Wednesday, as many as 11 other resolutions were adopted including the one that harped on ‘unity’ mantra and another that appealed to the cadres to slog for victory in the urban civic polls, expected to be held soon.

Celebrating with gusto the golden jubilee year (2021-22) of the party’s founding (October 17, 1972), thanking the people, party men and allies for the victory of 75 nominees of AIADMK and allies in the Assembly election held in April were among the other resolutions.

While AIADMK’s 66 nominees won, nine others from alliance parties (PMK,BJP) emerged victorious taking the overall count of MLAs from the AIADMK-led bloc to 75.

A resolution condemned the ‘dishonest propaganda tactics’ of the DMK during the run up to the Assembly elections and another for ‘burying democracy’ in the recently held rural civic polls in 9 reorganised districts. The DMK swept the polls held to local bodies in these districts, including Kancheepuram.

The AIADMK demanded that the DMK release a schedule on time bound implementation of its Assembly poll promises and warned of a ‘massive protest’ if this was not done.

The main opposition party listed DMK’s poll assurances like ‘cancelling’ the National Entrance cum Eligibility Test (NEET) and wanted such assurances to be fulfilled immediately.

Two resolutions slammed the DMK government over ‘failure’ on the law and order front and for not preventing damage due to rains and flood through precautionary measures.

The party asked the government to expeditiously take up rain related relief measures.

Source: Press Trust of India

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