Amid the continued rebellion by 21 MLAs loyal to sidelined party deputy chief TTV Dhinakaran, a meeting of the AIADMK (Amma), headed by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami, today decided to convene the party's general council, where a decision to remove jailed party general secretary V K Sasikala from the post could be taken.
The meeting, which some of the party MLAs and MPs did not attend, passed four resolutions and declared all appointments made by Sasikala's TTV Dhinakaran as 'null and void'.
The party also announced that its mouthpieces Namadhu MGR and Jaya TV will be retrieved legally.
It also also discussed the validity of the appointments made by Sasikala before going to jail in the Rs 66.6 crore disproportionate assets case, AIADMK sources said.
Steps would be taken to consider removing Sasikala as the chief of the party at the meeting of the general council, the apex body of the AIADMK, they added.
Sasikala was appointed the interim general secretary of the party by the general council at a meeting held on December 29 last year, days after the demise of late chief minister and party supremo J Jayalalithaa.
Earlier, on August 20, when the two factions of the AIADMK, led respectively by Palaniswami and current Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, merged, party MP R Vaithilingam had said steps would be taken to sack Sasikala from the party, a demand raised by the Panneerselvam faction for the unification.
Today's meeting, convened by Palaniswami and attended by senior party functionaries, ministers, MPs and MLAs, also discussed Dhinakaran's recent shuffling of the party ranks, the sources said.
Dhinakaran had yesterday removed Palaniswami as the party's Salem (Suburban) district secretary, besides sacking some other ministers from party posts.
Asked about the absence of certain MLAs and MPs from today's meeting, the sources said some of the MPs were members of parliamentary standing committees and hence, could be in other states as part of their work.
They though claimed that most of the MLAs were present. It was not immediately clear as to how many MLAs and MPs attended today's meeting, chaired by the chief minister, to discuss the way forward to tackle the crisis in the ruling party of Tamil Nadu.
The AIADMK has 134 MLAs in the 234-member state Assembly with one vacancy.
Currently, 21 AIADMK MLAs have sided with Dhinakaran and are camping at the neighbouring union territory of Puducherry after meeting Tamil Nadu Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao and expressing lack of confidence in the chief minister.
Today's meeting also dwelled upon "retrieving" AIADMK mouthpiece 'Namathu Dr MGR' and news channel 'Jaya TV', both of which have been publishing and airing anti-state government reports, following the tussle between Dhinakaran and Palaniswami.
Here are the highlights of the today's AIADMK meeting:
1:00 pm: Party meet decides to convene the general council, where a decision on Sasikala's ouster could be taken.
AIADMK passes four resolutions: Party mouthpieces Namadhu MGR and Jaya TV will be retrieved legally.— ANI (@ANI) August 28, 2017
12:06 pm: AIADMK passes four resolutions, all appointments made by TTV Dhinakaran declared null and void, General Council meeting to be convened soon.
Tamil Nadu: EPS-OPS supporters protest against VK Sasikala and TTV Dinakaran at AIADMK headquarter in Chennai. pic.twitter.com/sAmXzfEGpA— ANI (@ANI) August 28, 2017
TTV Dinakaran sacks #TamilNadu Minister for Electricity P Thangamani as Namakkal district secretary, replaced him with S. Anbazhan.— ANI (@ANI) August 28, 2017
AIADMK meeting at Royapettah in Chennai begins, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and O. Panneerselvam also present #TamilNadu— ANI (@ANI) August 28, 2017
Ever since the faction led by Chief Minister K.Palaniswami sidelined him, Dhinakaran has been trying to establish his supremacy within the party as its "Deputy General Secretary" appointed by Sasikala before going to the jail.
Dhinakaran is now on a sacking spree and on Sunday dismissed Chief Minister Palaniswami as the party's Salem Suburban District Secretary.
Earlier he had sacked several party officials like former Minister S.Gokula Indira, Chief Whip S.Rajendran and others and also expelled from the party Rajya Sabha Member R.Vaithialingam.
The Monday meeting at AIADMK headquarters will also discuss the issue of 19 legislators giving a letter to Governor C.Vidyasagar Rao withdrawing their support to Palaniswami and wanting a new Chief Minister.
"As per party laws, fifteen days notice has to be given to general council members. Most probably the meeting would also finalise the date of the general council meeting," the AIADMK leader told IANS.
According to him, the general council has around 1,300-1,400 members and nearly 85 per cent of them are in support of the ruling faction.
Post the merger between two factions - one led by (now) Deputy Chief Minister O.Panneerselvam and the other by Chief Minister Palaniswami, the duo also announced that steps would be taken to sack Sasikala from the party post and also from the party.
Officially the AIADMK had broken into two factions - one led by Panneerselvam and the other by Sasikala.
The Election Commission has recognised only these two factions at the time of the bypoll for the R.K.Nagar constituency. The bypoll got postponed on the grounds of money play in bribing the voters.
Subsequently a third faction emerged under Palaniswami as it developed differences with Sasikala-Dhinakaran faction.
"The merger of Panneerselvam group happened with the faction that commands majority in the party. The Palaniswami group could be termed as the dissident group of Sasikala faction," the AIADMK leader added.