CHENNAI: On a day of key developments, Leader of Opposition Edappadi K Palaniswami strengthened his position in the AIADMK further. Palaniswami’s hand was visible in the appointment of office-bearers for the AIADMK legislature party on Monday. Also, all MLAs rallied against VK Sasikala, who has been speaking candidly about her wish to return and 'reconstruct' the party.
AIADMK coordinator O Panneerselvam who was reportedly bargaining hard to make one of his supporters the party whip in the Assembly could not do so. Further, against the general expectations, Panneerselvam agreed to become the deputy leader of the AIADMK legislature party. Palaniswami succeeded in making his supporter, SP Velumani, the party whip.
Asserting his position further, Palaniswami convinced all MLAs to send out a strong message to the AIADMK's rank and file that the party would not tolerate anyone who is in contact with Sasikala. The party also expelled 15 office-bearers including a former minister who interacted with her recently.
Prior to the legislature party meeting, Palaniswami and Panneerselvam went into a huddle with senior functionaries of the party on the ground floor of the AIADMK headquarters for about one hour. Later, the meeting of the MLAs took place.
A strongly-worded resolution against Sasikala and her family, proposed jointly by Panneerselvam and Palaniswami, was seconded by all MLAs and adopted unanimously.
The resolution charged that Sasikala, who had declared that she would keep away from politics just ahead of the Assembly elections, is now "staging a strange drama by releasing the audio recordings of her interactions with a few." After seeing the people's support to the AIADMK in the Assembly elections, Sasikala is trying to gain political importance and has been attempting to usurp the party. "The AIADMK will continue to be a people's movement. It will not ruin itself for the sake of the wishes of a single family," the resolution asserted.
The resolution urged the party to take disciplinary action against all those who had brought disrepute to the party by interacting with Sasikala and accordingly, Panneerselvam and Panneerselvam expelled 15 functionaries who spoke to her.
Meanwhile, a few hours after the AIADMK expelled 15 of its functionaries, Sasikala spoke to another AIADMK functionary from Madurai, Kubendran, over telephone. In the interaction, Sasikala said, “We have seen many such developments in the party during 1989 and finally won. Similarly, we will win. Don’t worry. I will be with the party cadre and they are with me.”
Political commentator Tharasu Shyam told The New Indian Express, “Today’s developments indicate that Panneerselvam has compromised himself for certain things again. On the other hand, Palaniswami has established his supremacy in the party. In the legislature party appointments too, Palaniswami has an upper hand.”