The main opposition AIADMK, which is facing a challenge from expelled leader VK Sasikala, on Wednesday, December 1, amended its bye-laws to strengthen norms to retain the present leadership structure of the top two positions held by O Panneerselvam and K Palaniswami. The amendments to bye-laws at the Executive Committee meeting of the AIADMK held in Chennai, effectively closes the door on Sasikala, who has claimed to be the party's 'general secretary.'
While amendments made in 2017 bestowed all the powers vested with the top position of general secretary to the then newly created positions of party coordinator (Panneerselvam) and joint coordinator (Palaniswami), the current tweaks further strengthen that top party structure. The amendments mandate a 'single vote' by 'primary members' to elect the top leadership, which is the two positions of coordinator and joint coordinator.
While the posts are two, there cannot be separate votes, as the twin positions together constitute the party top leadership. According to the AIADMK, Sasiakala is not a member of the party, though she has claimed to be the general secretary. Senior leader D Jayakumar told reporters that only those who have been primary members for five years or more are eligible to vote to elect the party leadership.
Earlier in the day, hours before the executive meet, the party expelled senior leader and ex-Member of Parliament (MP) Anwhar Raajhaa for 'questioning' the party's leadership. In October this year, Anwhar Raajhaa had said that Sasikala should be taken back into the AIADMK fold.
Arrested and jailed in a disproportionate asset case in 2017, Sasikala has been trying to make a political comeback after her release. O Panneerselvam had earlier said that her return will be decided by the party high command but a section of party leaders led by Edappadi K Palaniswami are opposing her re-entry into the party fold.
With IANS and PTI inputs