CHENNAI: AIADMK leaders O Panneerselvam and Edappadi K Palaniswami on Saturday expelled O Raja, brother of Panneerselvam, and three other functionaries from Theni district who had called on Sasikala on Friday.
The three others who have been expelled from the AIADMK are S Murugesan, secretary, literary wing, Theni district, Vaigai Karuppuji, secretary, fishermen wing, Theni district and S Sethupathi, secretary, Jayalalithaa Peravai, Gudalur. Panneerselvam and Palaniswami have directed party workers not to have any truck with those expelled.
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Reacting to his expulsion from the AIADMK, O Raja told reporters at Theni that the party needs the leadership of Sasikala now. "Who are they (Panneerselvam and Palaniswami) to expel me from the party? I have been a member of the party since the times of party founder MG Ramachandran and later under the leadership of J Jayalalithaa. To me, Sasikala is the general secretary and my expulsion will be invalid."
Asked what he had discussed with Sasikala at Tiruchendur, Raja said he had requested her to lead the party.
Meanwhile, Panneerselvam and Palaniswami have expelled 10 party functionaries in Theni district who had contested against the AIADMK's official candidates in the elections to urban local bodies and for taking part in election campaigns in support of DMK candidates.
Both leaders have also stripped 23 functionaries of their party posts in Theni district for contesting against AIADMK candidates as well as supporting DMK candidates. Besides, seven functionaries in Namakkal district have also been expelled as they betrayed the AIADMK candidate in the election for chairman of Kumarapalayam municipality.
On March 2, AIADMK functionaries in Theni district convened a meeting at the farmhouse residence of Panneerselvam and demanded that Sasikala and Dhinakaran should be re-admitted into the party to strengthen it since the AIADMK has been facing defeats in successive elections.
AIADMK leaders from other parts of the state have suspected that the demand to re-admit Sasikala and Dhinkaran was made at the behest of Panneerselvam and criticised it. However, AIADMK joint coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswami did not react to the development and Panneerselvam has also been keeping silent. Meanwhile, the district level meeting at Theni scheduled for Saturday has been cancelled.
Sasikala has undertaken a tour of important temples in various parts of the state from Friday and said AIADMK workers would be meeting her during the visit.