Sasikala removed as AIADMK chief

Dhinakaran’s appointments to party posts invalid

Updated - September 12, 2017 11:10 pm IST

Published - September 12, 2017 11:09 pm IST - CHENNAI

New chapter:  Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami pays homage to party founder  M.G. Ramachandran and former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa at the AIADMK general council meeting held at Vanagaram, on the outskirts of Chennai, on Tuesday.

New chapter: Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami pays homage to party founder M.G. Ramachandran and former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa at the AIADMK general council meeting held at Vanagaram, on the outskirts of Chennai, on Tuesday.

Nearly nine months after V.K. Sasikala was unanimously appointed interim general secretary of the AIADMK following then Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s death, she was unseated from the post on Tuesday.

The general council of the AIADMK (Amma, PTA) convened under the joint leadership of Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and his deputy O. Panneerselvam adopted a resolution nullifying all decisions taken by Sasikala from December 30, 2016 to February 15, 2017.

“Following an atmosphere of shock after Amma’s (Jayalalithaa’s) untimely death and concern, V.K. Sasikala was appointed as interim general secretary to attend to routine party work.

“This general council unanimously resolves to cancel her [Sasikala’s] appointment made on December 29, 2016. (It also) resolves that all those appointments and removals made by her between December 30, 2016 and February 15, 2017 are not valid,” the council resolution said.

Not expelled

The resolution, which did not assign any reason for ousting Sasikala from the top post, however, did not expel her from the party. She is currently serving a four-year prison term in Bengaluru following her conviction in a disproportionate assets case.

The general council, held at a marriage hall in Vanagaram on the outskirts of Chennai, also unanimously decided to abolish the post of general secretary of the party. All the powers enjoyed by the general secretary have been vested with the party coordinator and co-coordinator, two newly created posts.

Adopting a resolution, the ‘general council’ reasoned that nobody else could fill the post once held by “two great leaders” — MGR and Jayalalithaa. And hence the post of general secretary was done away with and Rule 43 of the party’s by-laws amended to this effect.

New chapter for party

Originally, this rule had mentioned that though the general council would have powers to frame, amend or delete any rule of the party constitution, the stipulation that the general secretary should be elected only by all the primary members of the party “cannot be changed or amended” since it formed the basic structure of the party.

The change heralds a new chapter in the history of the 45-year-old AIADMK, which has functioned as per the diktats of a single leader, be it founder M.G. Ramachandran or his successor Jayalalithaa.

A resolution was adopted ratifying the decision taken a few weeks ago to make Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami coordinator and co-coordinator of the unified party respectively. The coordinator and co-coordinator would be joint signatories of authorisation forms to be submitted to the Election Commission.

Sasikala’s decision to anoint her nephew T.T.V. Dhinakaran as deputy general secretary of the party before she went to jail also stood invalidated.

Mr. Dhinakaran’s appointments to party positions and removing existing office bearers were declared “invalid” and “not in consonance with the party’s by-laws.”

Dhinakaran’s caveat

However, Mr. Dhinakaran told journalists in Madurai that the Madras High Court had made it clear on Monday that all decisions taken at the general council meeting would be subject to the final outcome of a petition challenging the validity of the meeting itself.

The meeting was attended by all important leaders of the two factions and the entire proceedings were concluded in three hours.

Out of nearly 2,300 members of the general council, 90% took part in the meeting, sources in the party claimed.

The appointment of former Ministers K.P. Munusamy and R. Vaithilingam as deputy coordinators was also approved by the general council.

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