Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister and AIADMK coordinator O Pannerselvam has said that the party’s former general secretary Sasikala’s induction into the AIADMK will be considered if she is ready to accept the democratic set-up of the party. The Deputy CM made the statement during an interview to Thanthi TV on Tuesday. He added that Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had earlier denied her entry into AIADMK, but he would reconsider his stand if she accepted the party’s internal democracy.
The statement by O Panneerselvam comes a few days after Sasikala announced her decision to stay away from politics.
In an interview, Panneerselavam said, Sasikala had served in prison for four years and on grounds of humanity, since she has been with former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, the decision will be taken.
“I do have any dissatisfaction over Sasikala. After former TN CM Jayalalithaa’s demise there were some doubts on her. So even during my ‘dharma yudham’, I said that there should be a commission to enquire into Jayalalithaa’s death since there were doubts on Sasikala which may malign her reputation. So I wanted the bad name to go away from her,” he said.
To the question on whether he had doubts on her, Panneerselvam said, “I never had doubts on her since I have traveled with her and Jayalalithaa.”
The statement of the Deputy CM, coming just weeks before the elections, assumes significance after reports that the Thevar community, which has been the regular vote bank of the AIADMK, may vote against the party on the issue of Sasikala, and potentially lead to a major drubbing for the party in south Tamil Nadu.
Both Sasikala and Panneerselvam belong to the Thevar community and this vote bank is crucial for the AIADMK. Panneerselvam is contesting the election from his home turf of Bodinayakanur in Theni district which has a high concentration of the Thevar community. His former party colleague and ex-Andipatti MLA Thanga Tamil Selvan is contesting on a DMK ticket from there.
Tamil Nadu is set to vote on April 6 and the results of the election will be announced on May 2.
(With inputs from IANS)