For the first time, a senior leader of AIADMK has publicly criticised party chief Sasikala Natarajan’s family for “insulting” founder MG Ramachandran’s (MGR) memory by claiming credit for “reuniting the party” after his death.
K P Munusamy, a former minister who joined the party in 1972, voiced his displeasure over the comments made by Sasikala’s brother Dhivakaran during Pongal festivities at Thanjavur that Sasikala and her family—derisively known as the ‘Mannargudi mafia’ by critics—played a key role in reuniting the party in 1987.
He had said that it was because of their efforts that the party symbol, ‘two leaves’ was restored to it.
Munusamy hit back at a press conference in Krishnagiri district on Monday, saying, “Someone who has never had any connection with the AIADMK has spoken as if he is personally responsible for the party.”
“Dhivakaran should be kept under control by Sasikala,” he said.
Munusamy said it was people like him who first stood with MGR, and then later with J Jayalalithaa, who had built the party, and that Dhivakaran’s comments had “shocked and annoyed” many senior leaders.
Jayalalithaa, who had wrested the party’s control from the faction led by MGR’s wife Janaki in 1987, went on to become chief minister several times, including till her death last month. Her closest aide Sasikala then took over as the party general secretary.
Earlier on Monday, a day ahead of MGR’s birth centenary, Sasikala had told party members to ensure that “enemies” did not exploit the “crisis” created by Jayalalithaa’s “sudden” demise.