AIADMK factions pay tribute to Jaya separately on death anniv

Published on Dec 06, 2022 12:10 AM IST

There has been debate over the date of Jayalalithaa’s death as the justice Arumugasamy commission which probed her 75-day hospitalisation and death in December 2016 states that she died on December 4.

AIADMK party workers pay tribute to former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa on her death anniversary, at her memorial in Chennai. (PTI)
AIADMK party workers pay tribute to former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa on her death anniversary, at her memorial in Chennai. (PTI)
By, Chennai

Late Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s sixth death anniversary was marked on Monday even as factions led by AIADMK leaders Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS), O Panneerselvam (OPS), V K Sasikala and TTV Dhinakaran paid tributes to her separately.

Two years ago on the same day, EPS and OPS had put up a united show of strength to keep out Sasikala, who was in prison and was released a month later.

In the said two years, the party witnessed multiple twists and turns in terms of leadership with EPS now helming the party as the interim general secretary while an expelled OPS is fighting to reclaim his position and the party.

OPS, however, called for uniting the factions on Monday even as EPS has been steadfast in keeping all of them out.

A sea of leaders and cadre wearing black gathered at Jaylalaithaa’s memorial in Chennai’s Marina beach. EPS came in first. “We will chase away our enemies,” said EPS flanked by his supporters. “Betrayers will crumble into pieces,” he said as the faction took a pledge to work hard and return to power.

After paying floral tribute at Jaya Memorial in Chennai, O Pannerselvam said, “Only if we reunite can we grow the party together.”

Veteran leader JCD Prabhakaran who was expelled along with OPS on July 11, led the tribute ceremony describing Jayalalithaa as their “permanent general secretary”— a term coined when EPS and OPS merged their factions in 2017 to become joint-coordinator and coordinator.

“There are some evil forces trying to dismantle our party. We will not allow this,” said Prabhakaran with OPS and others supporters repeating in chorus.

“Only cadres can elect the leader of the AIADMK as instructed by Puratchi Thalaivar (M G Ramachandran) and sustained by Puratchi Thalaivi (Jayalalithaa)... which has been upended by selfish and autocratic ways. We will put an end to this,” he said.

He was followed by Dhinakaran leading AIADMK’s breakaway faction-Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) and Sasikala with her supporters.

Speaking to reporters, Sasikala said, “38 years ago we united AIADMK. AIADMK cadres are wishing for united AIADMK only. For sure that will happen very soon.”“AIADMK only will lead the alliance in the upcoming general election. You will see soon who will lead the AIADMK on that. Cadres have total belief in me that I will unite the AIADMK,” Sasikala added.

There has been debate over the date of Jayalalithaa’s death as the justice Arumugasamy commission which probed her 75-day hospitalisation and death in December 2016 states that she died on December 4.

Jayalalithaa’s niece and nephew J Deepa and J Deepak who have been identified as her legal heirs also paid floral tributes to the late leader at her residence.

“There is speculation over when she died,” Deepa told reporters. “There has been no solution to the Arumugasamy commission report. The present government should take action on the report.”

After paying tributes, EPS left for Delhi to participate in the G20 meeting which Prime Minister Narendra Modi led with heads of all political parties. “I’m proud to attend it on behalf of the AIADMK,” EPS said on Monday.

On July 11, during the general council meeting the majority which is backing EPS chose him as AIADMK interim general secretary by abolishing the dual leadership he was sharing with OPS. On the same day, the council expelled OPS who later moved the Supreme Court against the council’s proceedings. OPS went to the top court and challenged a Madras high court order on September 2, restoring EPS as the unitary leader of the AIADMK. Since the case is pending before the Supreme Court, the AIADMK has put on hold the internal party elections to make EPS the party’s general secretary.

With Agency Inputs

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Divya Chandrababu is an award-winning political and human rights journalist based in Chennai, India. Divya is presently Assistant Editor of the Hindustan Times where she covers Tamil Nadu & Puducherry. She started her career as a broadcast journalist at NDTV-Hindu where she anchored and wrote prime time news bulletins. Later, she covered politics, development, mental health, child and disability rights for The Times of India. Divya has been a journalism fellow for several programs including the Asia Journalism Fellowship at Singapore and the KAS Media Asia- The Caravan for narrative journalism. Divya has a master's in politics and international studies from the University of Warwick, UK. As an independent journalist Divya has written for Indian and foreign publications on domestic and international affairs.

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