Chennai: Nine months after she was catapulted to head the party after her long time friend J, Jayalalithaa’s death, VK Sasikala was on Tuesday sacked as the “interim general secretary” of the AIADMK by the powerful General Council. The council also transferred all powers to run the party to coordinator O.Panneerselvam and joint coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswami.
The General Council, which was last convened in December last year to appoint Sasikala as interim general secretary, passed 12 resolutions unanimously, including one on abolishing the post of General Secretary since “none can fill the void” left by Jayalalithaa, who will be the “eternal general secretary.”
Attended by 95 per cent of around 2,700 numbers, the General Council also annulled all the appointments and expulsions made by Sasikala between December 29, 2016 and February 15, 2017 which was the day she surrendered at the Parapana Agrahara prison in Bengaluru – thereby effectively removing her nephew TTV Dhinakaran both from the primary membership of the party and as deputy general secretary.
The large hall at the Sri Varu Venkatachalapathy Palace in Vanagaram on the outskirts of the city erupted in applause as the resolutions relating to Sasikala’s sacking and Dhinakaran’s appointment being annulled were read out by Revenue Minister RB Uthayakumar. Ironically, it was Uthayakumar who first proposed Sasikala for Chief Ministership, two weeks after Jayalalithaa’s death.
Numerous amendments made to the AIADMK constitution by transferring all the powers hitherto held by the general secretary to Panneerselvam and Palaniswami in their capacities as coordinator and joint coordinator of the party represented a kind of silver lining in the otherwise sombre proceedings of removal of the Sasikala family. While Palaniswami termed the “successful conduct” of the general council as the “first victory” for a unified AIADMK, Panneerselvam vowed to work for the party without any “selfish interests.”
“VK Sasikala was appointed as interim general secretary to attend to routine party work when a shocking atmosphere prevailed in the AIADMK due to the untimely death of Amma (Jayalalithaa). This General Council unanimously resolves to cancel her appointment made on December 29, 2016,” a resolution said.
Though Sasikala was removed as interim general secretary, she continues to remain as primary member of the AIADMK as the general council decided to continue with the decision taken by late Jayalalithaa and allow office bearers appointed by her to resume their work. However, Dhinakaran has lost his primary membership since Sasikala revoked his expulsion, ordered by Jayalalithaa in 2011, the day she went to jail.
The removal of Sasikala as the interim general secretary had been in the works for the past few months as the teams led by EPS and OPS camps sat across the table to thrash out modalities for a merger. Only after Palaniswami agreed to sack Sasikala and throw the ‘Mannargudi Family’ out of the party did Panneerselvam give his assent for the merger pact that came into force on August 21 when he was inducted as deputy chief minister in the present government.
The General Council, which was held amid tight security provided both by private security personnel and state police, was a smooth affair as there was not even a murmur when “historic” decisions were announced from the dais. More than 2, 200 of the 2,700 members attended the General Council and helped pass all 12 resolutions unanimously.
Other important resolutions passed at the meeting were to retrieve the ‘Two Leaves’ symbol frozen by the Election Commission and commending the decision of the Tamil Nadu Government for building a memorial for late Jayalalithaa.
“The resolutions were conveyed to the members a day earlier so that no one raised any objections at the meeting. The meeting went off peacefully and the transition of power was very smooth,” a senior leader said, requesting anonymity.