Sasikala to hold roadshow amid power tussle in AIADMK
Expelled AIADMK interim general secretary V K Sasikala on Friday will hold a roadshow here on June 26 “to defend the rights of Tamil soil and dignity of women”.
Amid an ongoing power tussle within the AIADMK between coordinator O Panneerselvam (OPS) and his rival-turned-ally-turned-adversary and joint coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS), expelled party interim general secretary V K Sasikala on Friday announced to hold a roadshow here on June 26 “to defend the rights of Tamil soil and dignity of women”.
The announcement came a day after the party, at its general council meeting, stopped short of deciding on unitary leadership and picking EPS as its leader following orders from Madras high court.
On Sunday, Sasikala will begin her roadshow at 12.30 pm from her residence at T Nagar and travel across Koyambedu, Poonamalle, Tiruvallur, Tiruttani, Gundalur, Koramangala, K G Kandigai, SVG Puram, Krishnakuppam, R K Pettai and Ammaiyarkuppam among other areas, a statement from her office said. During the course of the roadshow, the 67-year-old will also meet the public and cadres at various points, it added.
“Puratchithai Chinamma (Revolutionary mother Sasikala) begins her revolutionary journey to defend the rights of the Tamil soil and the dignity of women. The journey will convey the pride of Thalaivar (party founder M G Ramachandran) who introduced the nutritious meal programme and thoughts of Amma who introduced the Thaaliku Thangam scheme (gold for mangalsutra),” the statement said.
A confidant of late former chief minister and AIADMK president J Jayalalithaa, Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran were ousted from the party in 2017, after then separate factions headed by EPS and OPS came together.
In 2018, Dhinakaran floated the AMMK along with rebel AIADMK MLAs and other supporters of Sasikala.
Both EPS and OPS have jointly led the AIADMK since 2017. In December last year, the AIADMK even amended its constitution to elect the coordinator and joint-coordinator – solidifying the positions of EPS and OPS to keep Sasikala away from the party.
However, amid EPS’s growing clout, OPS was seen as softening towards Sasikala in recent months. The rumblings in the party began a week ago, when a few workers demanded the return to single leadership under EPS.
At the general council meeting on Thursday, a bottle was hurled at OPS as a majority of party supporters and workers chanted slogans, favouring EPS as the leader of the party.
The council also rejected all 23 resolutions on the agenda, hours after a division bench of the Madras high court restrained the party from taking any decision on unitary leadership.
The EPS camp, however, on Friday asserted that the system of dual leadership ceased to be in force and therefore, the top two positions had now become defunct.
Sasikala has maintained that AIADMK leaders are in touch with her and only a few, who are seeking posts, are against her entry to the party.
The EPS camp, however, is confident that Sasikala will not return to the fold. “We have discussed and finished the Sasikala chapter. She and her supporters and her family are nowhere in the picture now,” a senior AIADMK leader said on condition of anonymity.