No place for Sasikala, her kin in AIADMK: Palaniswami

PTI, Jun 4, 2021, 7:20 PM IST

Chennai: AIADMK top leader K Palaniswami on Friday asserted that the party”s stand is that V K Sasikala and her family have no place in it and rebutted claims of differences with party coordinator O Panneerselvam. Denouncing the “bid to create confusion” in the party by leaking audio clips (in which Sasikala indicated that she would revive attempts to regain control of AIADMK), Palaniswami, the party co-coordinator, said such attempts would not succeed.

The former Chief Minister said he had no differences with his party colleague O Panneerselvam (OPS) “Sasikala is not a member of the AIADMK and has no links whatsoever to the party.I myself and AIADMK deputy coordinator K P Munuswamy have already made this amply clear,” he told reporters at the party headquarters here.

The AIADMK leader also recalled that Sasikala herself had already announced ahead of the April 6 Assembly polls that she was opting to stay away from politics. He said the unanimous view of leaders, functionaries and cadres at all levels was that Sasikala and her family have no place in the AIADMK and this stand would continue. Only based on this conviction did the AIADMK face the April 6 assembly polls and was able to ”succeed”, he said, apparently referring to the 75 seats his party and allies together won out of the total 234 segments, following a 10- year stint in power.

The AIADMK secured 66 seats, PMK and BJP five and four segments respectively in the polls. Palaniswami said: “She (Sasikala) is interacting with Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam cadres (led by her nephew TTV Dhinakaran). There is nothing more to it.” Asked about reported claims that she had also interacted with AIADMK cadres, Palaniswami said there was no proof of it. As party insiders, leaders like him knew that such a claim was not true, he said. “With an intention of creating confusion, audio clips of Sasikala”s conversations with her loyalists have been deliberately leaked,” he alleged.

Palaniswami said AIADMK is today a robust opposition party, but some were deliberately trying to create confusion through dissemination of recorded conversations, which would not succeed. Amid expectations that the AIADMK brass would meet to look into the reasons for its failure to retain power, Palaniswami met a section of functionaries from here and other nearby areas at the party headquarters.

Asked why OPS had not taken part in the meeting, he said it was not a scheduled meet and he visited the office since ”today is auspicious.” His colleague OPS did not turn up as he had a ”house warming” function on Friday, he said. He rejected reports of differences between them, saying “we have no differences of opinion. You (press) magnify it (the allegation) for the sake of sensationalism.”

The perception of differences gained momentum recently after OPS and Palaniswami issued separate statements on public issues, but joint statements on party matters. Palaniswami said that being the leader of the opposition, he was hitting back at the present DMK government when the previous AIADMK regime led by him was targeted and on other issues OPS took the lead.

During the times of late party supremo J Jayalalithaa too, senior party leaders used to separately issue statements on specific matters, he said. However, it did not become an issue during those days, but was now being blow out of proportion deliberately, he said adding party leaders taking up specific issues was only done, considering the people”s welfare. Asked if AIADMK would play the role of a constructive opposition since it”s voice was not being ”heard”, he said the DMK has assumed office only recently.

M K Stalin assumed office as Chief Minister on May 7. Also, this was a time when the COVID-19 pandemic was prevalent and the party”s stand was that all should join forces to tide over the crisis. “We will work as a constructive opposition, not as an enemy party. When people are suffering due to the pandemic, talking politics is not correct.. it is against civility.”

Asked if there would be a meet to introspect on AIADMK”s performance and failure to retain power, Palaniswami said such exercises can be taken up only after the pandemic ends. On the party not yet naming its whip in the Assembly, he said it would be done at the right time. Sasikala, confidante of Jayalalithaa, was eased out from the AIADMK years ago and had days ago hinted at resumption of efforts to regain control of the party, telling her supporters that there would soon be a “good decision.” After announcing ahead of the polls that she would stay away from politics, Sasikala said she could not see the party getting ruined due to “infighting.” Though her reference to the feud has no direct mention of AIADMK or its leadership, it is seen as a pointer to alleged differences between Palaniswami and Panneerselvam.

The AIADMK has, however, time and again, rejected such claims differences. A case by Sasikala, challenging the 2017 AIADMK general council resolutions, including removing her from the post of interim general secretary, is pending in a city civil court and will be taken up for hearing on June 18.

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