After a high-level meeting with AIADMK leaders, Tamil Nadu Opposition leader and AIADMK co-coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswami on Friday said that AIADMK’s stand is that VK Sasikala, an aide of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, and her kin do not have a place in the party. The statement of the leader comes after Sasikala hinted at a resumption of efforts to regain control of the party, telling her supporters that there would soon be a "good decision" in leaked audio. Citing the audio leak, Palaniswami said such attempts would not succeed.
Speaking to reporters in the party headquarters, Palaniswami said, "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." 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 a cadre 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 the 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. However, the meeting was not attended by AIADMK coordinator O Panneerselvam.
When 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 blown out of proportion deliberately, he said adding party leaders taking up specific issues was only done, considering the people's welfare.