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

Former speaker P.H. Pandian hits out at Sasikala

Defiant duo : Former Assembly Speaker P.H. Pandian, left, and his son P.H. Manoj Pandian at a press meet in Chennai on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: K_Pichumani

Revolting against AIADMK leader V.K. Sasikala, former Assembly Speaker P.H. Pandian, along with his son and former Rajya Sabha MP P.H. Paul Manoj Pandian, on Tuesday questioned the manner in which she was elected as the general secretary as well as the leader of the Legislature Party. Besides, the pair raised suspicions over the circumstances surrounding former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s death.

Mr. Pandian, who had once infamously declared that the Speaker had “sky-high powers”, told journalists at his residence here that Ms. Sasikala did not have the competence to hold any party or governmental post.

Chipping in, his son said that her appointment as general secretary in December 2016 was only “temporary”. As per the party’s constitution, the general secretary can be elected by the party cadre alone and not by the general council, he claimed.

Mr. Pandian wondered how Ms. Sasikala took over the leadership of the party barely 20 days after Jayalalithaa’s death and aspired to occupy the Chief Minister’s chair within two months.

Questions press meet

The father-son duo raised suspicions over the press conference facilitated by the State government on Monday, in which London-based Dr. Richard Beale and other doctors explained the treatment administered to Jayalalithaa at the Apollo Hospitals. “If the State government facilitated the press meet, who ordered for this?” Mr. Pandian questioned.

He contended that when a case relating to the treatment was pending in the Madras High Court and when the Central government was seized of the matter, the press meet should not have been organised.

The poison theory

Mr. Pandian went on to refer to an old criminal case, in which an old woman was poisoned with the help of a doctor, and further cited a High Court’s judgment that said circumstantial evidence was sufficient to convict accused persons.

When reporters asked whether he was hinting that Jayalalithaa was poisoned to death, Mr. Pandian replied by saying, “wait and watch”.

When asked why they wanted to raise suspicion over the death of Jayalalithaa two months on, they referred to the incidents over the last two days, including the doctors’ press meet, and said the situation demanded it.

To a query on their plans, they said they would announce them on the birth anniversary of Jayalalithaa on February 24.

Citing certain rules in the party bylaw, Mr. Manoj Pandian said Ms. Sasikala cannot make any appointments or removals.

Mr. Manoj Pandian claimed that Jayalalithaa had once called him along with former Thuglak editor ‘Cho’ Ramaswamy and said she was afraid that “this group” (he did not elaborate on who constituted the group) would poison and kill her.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2020 9:22:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/Former-speaker-P.H.-Pandian-hits-out-at-Sasikala/article17243641.ece

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