In yet another indication that all is not well in the ruling AIADMK, a party MLA on Sunday backed its Madurai-based veteran V V Rajan Chellappa's pitch for a single leader to steer the outfit and asserted that anyone trying to divide the outfit for "family" would be viewed as another "Sasikala."
"My appeal is for a unitary leadership and it should be strong and unselfish," R T Ramachandran, a senior AIADMK functionary representing Kunnam Assembly segment, is seen saying in a video clip that was made available to the media.
While Ramachandran was unavailable for comments, an AIADMK spokesperson said such opinions should be aired only in the appropriate party fora.
Expressing opinions in the open only provide fodder to the opposition, he said.
The MLA said party founder M G Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa were "selfless and treated only the party as their family" and "avoided" their respective families while nurturing and guarding the outfit.
"Whoever tries to threaten or divide the party for their family will be viewed as yet another Sasikala by the AIADMK workers," the Kunnam legislator said.
After Jayalalithaa's death in 2016, her close aide V K Sasikala became the party's interim chief. Eventually, she and her family members were eased out of the party to not allow the dominance of one family, as Panneerselvam and Palaniswami came together.
His remark is perceived as having been made against Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam.
Panneerselvam's son P Raveendranath Kumar was given party ticket to contest from Theni Lok Sabha seat, all the while Chief Minister K Palaniswami was going hammer and tongs against the DMK for "perpetuating family rule."
However, Rajan Chellappa's views on Saturday is perceived batting for Panneerselvam.
R T Ramachandran also said leaders should understand such aspects and dedicate themselves for the party, while adding that "attempts to bend the party" for the sake of family caused distress to party functionaries like him.
The AIADMK spokesperson told PTI, "Party workers can air their grievances only in the general council, which is the decision-making body. By making such views public, one should not provide fodder to the Opposition."