A day after his Delhi visit, AIADMK coordinator O. Panneerselvam on Wednesday categorically rejected the re-induction of V.K. Sasikala into the party.
The former chief minister, by saying 'no entry for Sasikala', has cleared the air on speculations of him being close to the Mannargudi clan and looking for an olive branch from her to fight his warring colleague Edappadi K. Palaniswami. His statements have also made it clear that he will continue to run the show with Palaniswami.
“The dual leadership in the party will continue. No one can capture the party. The AIADMK in the past four-and-a-half years has proved that it can run the party without the dominance of an individual or a family,” Panneerselvam told media in Theni. The 30-minute long press conference on Wednesday was filled with enthusiasm, indicating that the party has regained confidence after the Delhi trip of both Panneerselvam and Palaniswami.
For the past few months, Panneerselvam had maintained a studied silence on Sasikala’s audio conversations with the AIADMK cadres. In an exclusive interview to THE WEEK, Sasikala had revealed her plan to come back to the party to keep up her promise at Jayalalithaa’s memorial. In the interview, Sasikala had recalled her 33-year-long friendship and life with Jayalalithaa and how their friendship shaped the political landscape of Tamil Nadu. Sasikala’s recent interviews and her audio conversations seemed to have rattled the AIADMK leadership, forcing them to rush to Delhi to find a solution for the party’s internal tussle.
Panneerselvam and Palaniswami called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi. Highly placed sources close to the AIADMK leadership said that the two leaders discussed with both Modi and Shah the plans of Sasikala for a come back into the party and also the Jayalalithaa death probe case. Sources also said that the Delhi political circles advised the duo to stay united and fight the ruling DMK.
“Myself and Palaniswami have been leading the party as the coordinator and the joint coordinator for the past four-and-a-half years. We have ensured a democratic system in the party wherein a particular family or an individual cannot dominate the party affairs. The objective for which the AIADMK was launched has been fulfilled now. No one can capture the AIADMK even if they attempt. This state of affairs will continue. The AIADMK cadres are discharging their duties happily now,” Panneerselvam asserted.
Panneerselvam’s statement gains significance at a time when the party is gearing up for internal elections.
Apparently, Sasikala after her interview to THE WEEK came out to call on E. Madhusoodhanan, the ailing AIADMK organising secretary, thus rattling the party leadership. And very soon, Sasikala is expected to visit Jayalalithaa memorial on the shores of Marina.