AIADMK’s general council to meet on Nov 24; discuss local body polls, Sasikala’s reinduction

The AIADMK said on Thursday it would hold the meeting of its highest decision making bodies on November 24 to discuss the upcoming local body elections and whether former chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s close aide, VK Sasikala, should be re-inducted into the party once she is released from prison.

The last meeting of the General Council was convened in September 2017 to oust Sasikala and to implement changes in the party by-laws.

The changes in the ruling party’s constitution had introduced new posts, including that of party coordinator, joint-coordinator, deputy coordinators, instead of the all-powerful general secretary post which was held by Sasikala after Jayalalithaa’s death.

Sasikala is currently serving a four-year jail term in Bengaluru’s Parappana Agrahara Prison in a ‘disproportionate assets’ since 2017. But, her supporters are expecting Sasikala’s premature release on the grounds of good conduct rules.

Though the AIADMK, headed by chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, had ousted Sasikala and her family members from the party, a section of the party’s leaders are seen as being sympathetic to her re-induction.

However, another set of leaders led by D Jayakumar have been reiterating that Sasikala should not be re-inducted into the party.

Ministers like Rajendra Balaji and Sellur K Raju have maintained a soft corner towards Sasikala by publicly calling her ‘Chinnamma” – an honorific used by AIADMK workers.

Rajendra Balaji said while speaking to media last month that he prayed Sasikala’s early release from jail.

“Though the law punished Sasikala, she is innocent before the almighty’s court. I pray for the early release of our Chinnamma,” Balaji had said.

Responding to a question on whether Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran would be re-inducted, deputy chief minister and AIADMK coordinator O Panneerselvam (OPS) said the party’s general council (GC) and executive committee (EC) have to decide about that.

“We have no plan to re-induct Sasikala and her family members. Anyone can join the party except the ‘Mannargudi family’ (a term referring to Sasikala and her family members),” Jayakumar said.

A senior party leader, who did not want to be named, said that everyone had written off the AIADMK after Jayalalithaa’s death.

“However, after several tussles and chaos, the party has proved its power by winning the recent by-polls. The state soon goes for civic polls and state assembly elections in 2021. Hence, the GC and EC meeting is being keenly watched by the cadres on whether we will re-induct Sasikala or not,” the party leader said.

AIADMK leader and state cooperatives minister Sellur K Raju, who also hails from Sasikala’s Thevar caste, said while speaking to HT that the GC and EC meeting is a routine one.

“Sasikala is in prison. So, the party is not in a position to discuss her in EC and GC meeting. It will discuss our party’s plans for the upcoming local body polls and 2021 state assembly polls.”

Senior political analyst S Ramesh said after winning the 11 assembly seats since April this year, EPS has established himself as an undisputed leader in the party.

“Sasikala is serving a four-year jail term in Bengaluru. So, the current EC and GC meet is unlikely to make any changes in the party line,” Ramesh said.

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