The AIADMK crisis: who'll take the party forward?

‘Every member of Sasikala’s family controls party now’

AIADMK’s presidium chairman E. Madhusudhanan, who switched to the Panneerselvam camp on Thursday, has alleged that every member of party interim general secretary Sasikala’s extended family is in control of the party. In an interview with T.K. Rohit, he equated the current leadership of the AIADMK to the DMK’s ‘family rule’. Excerpts:

You were the one who requested Ms. Sasikala with folded hands to take over as general secretary of the AIADMK after Jayalalithaa’s death. What prompted you to switch loyalties now?

Yes, I was the one who wanted her to take over. What I expected was that she will run the party well and independently. Now, the whole family (Sasikala’s) is running the party. I am not able to tolerate that. Only after I saw OPS’s (Chief Minister Panneerselvam) press meet, I came to know about certain humiliating things that were meted out to him. If a treasurer is subjected to such a situation, what is the guarantee it won’t happen to the presidium chairman? We are not here to save the family. We have to save the party.

You are saying Sasikala’s family is involved…

Yes, every single person is involved in the running of the party now. Initially, only Dinakaran (Sasikala’s nephew) was there. At least he was working for the party in his early days. Amma (Jayalalithaa) expelled everyone, and now, after her death, every single person in the family is back. They are dominating everyone in the party. I was always opposed to the family rule of the DMK. The AIADMK was founded mainly to oppose the DMK’s family politics. The same is happening here now.

The Sasikala camp has accused the Chief Minister of having the backing of the DMK. Is there something happening behind the scenes?

He has absolutely no backing of the DMK. Both of us have been with the AIADMK from our initial days. The DMK wants to rule the State. How will they support OPS? I have 49 cases foisted on me by the DMK. Let me tell you, till there is one last drop of blood in my body, I will always be opposed to the DMK. I have been opposed to the family politics of the DMK and so are the cadre. How will I go to a place that has the DMK’s backing?

What is your expectation?

I don’t want anything. We never expected anything. Amma asked me in 2016 if I wanted any post or an MLA seat. I said I don’t want anything. I want to serve her and the party. Only presidium chairman is sufficient. Now, we just want to save the party.

Sasikala’s camp has claimed to have the support of 131 MLAs. If there is a floor test in the Assembly, what are Mr. Panneerselvam’s chances? You have the support of only six MLAs right now.

What they have done yesterday (on Wednesday) is that they have actually arrested each of the MLAs and kept them under their watch. If there is a floor test in the Assembly and a division happens, many will support Mr. Panneerselvam. It will definitely happen at the last moment.

Ms. Sasikala has said she will 100% become the Chief Minister…

It is not even three months since Amma passed away, and she wants to become the Chief Minister. What is the hurry? What is the necessity to replace OPS when he was doing well?

You were closeted with Mr. Panneerselvam since morning. What were you discussing?

I asked him some questions. I have told him not to keep in touch with anyone (opposition). I also asked him not to compromise on his stand even if Ms. Sasikala calls him back to the party. He said he will not (compromise). We will do only what the cadre of the party want.

If there is a split in the AIADMK, will you seek the ‘Two Leaves’ symbol?

We will consult legal experts to decide on that, if such a situation arises.

What is the possibility of another election happening in the State soon?

Let’s just wait and see.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2020 12:13:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/%E2%80%98Every-member-of-Sasikala%E2%80%99s-family-controls-party-now%E2%80%99/article17282222.ece

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