Leaders from both the factions of the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu are in New Delhi today and they are expected to meet the Election Commission officials seeking withdrawal of affidavits filed by them claiming the ‘two leaves’ election symbol.
Reports say that party leaders from both sides -- Tamil Nadu Electricity Minister Thangamani, Finance Minister Jayakumar, Law Minister Cve Shanmugam, MP Maithreyan and former MP Manoj Pandian, will first be discussing the legal ways with top lawyers before seeking the defreezing of the party’s iconic symbol which was seized by the poll body earlier in February following a split in the party.
However, political observers point out that meeting Election Commission is not the main agenda of the delegation’s two-day visit and that they will have some political meetings as well.
The Palaniswami camp had earlier filed affidavits with the Election Commission endorsing jailed leader VK Sasikala’s appointment as general secretary and Panneerselvam had filed a petition challenging her appointment. The Palaniswami faction, reports said, may now submit affidavits taking back the support.
According to legal experts, the process to get the symbol defreeze is not going to be that simple because lakhs of affidavits had been filed by both the factions in past to claim the ‘two-leaves’ symbol. The process includes filing of a fresh petition with the EC showing the support that the party enjoys a two-third majority.
Meanwhile, at yesterday’s meeting of the EPS-OPS camp, at least 27 more MLAs were reported missing, according to a report in Times of India, giving strength to the TTV Dhinakaran camp. The faction led by Palaniswami has convened the meeting of AIADMK's General Council on September 12 where the party is likely to take a decision on Sasikala’s removal from the general secretary post.
An AIADMK statement, which had the names of both Amma and O Panneerselvam-led Puratchi Thalaivi Amma, said that the General Council and Executive, the party's top decision making body, would be held at a marriage hall in Chennai at 10.35 am on September 12. The meeting will be presided over by party presidium chairman E Madhusudhanan, the release said.
It, however, did not divulge details of the agenda to be taken up, but came within hours after a Palaniswami-led meeting of senior leaders, including ministers, decided to convene the General Council. The expulsion of Sasikala had been the main demand of the OPS camp prior to the formal merger of the two factions on August 21.
Unfazed by the attack, Dhinakaran continued to reshuffle party ranks. The combative Dhinakaran removed a number of senior party
functionaries, including senior ministers, from various posts. Among others, Dhinakaran sacked senior cabinet ministers P Thangamani and SP Velumani as district secretaries of Namakkal and Coimbatore (suburban), respectively. He also removed their colleague M Natarajan as the district secretary of Tiruchirapally City unit. Further, Dhinakaran sacked Tiruchirappally (suburban) Secretary T Rathinavel, MP.
Tiruchirapally City and Tiruchirapally suburban units will henceforth function as Tiruchirapally City, North and South districts. Thangamani and Velumani, besides former Ministers V Murthy, TKM Chinnaiah, BV Ramana and Mukkur N Subramanian were also removed by Dhinakaran as AIADMK Organisation Secretary.
Further, Tirupur City district secretary and former Minister MSM Anandan was also booted out. He was replaced by former MP C Sivasamy. Dhinakaran also removed MPs KR Arjunan and SR Vijayakumar as secretaries of Nilgiris and students's wing secretaries.
He also announced reshuffling of various other party units. All the changes were being made with the approval of party chief VK Sasikala, he said in a statement.