AIADMK infighting: Rift to widen as EC says Dinakaran not office-bearer, and so appointment of Sasikala as general secretary not acceptable | ANALYSIS

Arkadev Ghoshal
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The rift between warring factions of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) – the VK Sasikala camp and the O Panneerselvam camp – is set to widen as the Election Commission has ruled that Sasikala's nephew TTV Dinakaran was not an office-bearer within the party when she was made its general secretary, and hence her appointment to the post stands void.

Also read: Dead or alive, rumour or legacy, Jayalalithaa is still at the centre of politics in Tamil Nadu

What it means for Sasikala, AIADMK and Palaniswami

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The development can have some serious ramifications within the AIADMK as well as in Tamil Nadu, and can even result in the toppling of current Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami – often referred to as EPS. After all, Palaniswami was chosen as leader of the AIADMK Legislature Party by Sasikala – also known as Sasikala Natarajan or Chinnamma. Now, if Sasikala's elevation stands invalidated, that can extend to all the decisions she took while she was in the post.

And then there's her decision to oust Panneerselvam – alternatively OPS – from the party and trying to become chief minister herself because a large section of the AIADMK cadre had urged her to do so. That decision, along with those taken to drive several OPS sympathisers out of the AIADMK, should also stand void.

What it means for Panneerselvam

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If the EC ruling results in Sasikala's ouster from the AIADMK, it should pave the way for Panneerselvam to return to power both within the party and in the state – as its chief minister. And he can then resume his agenda of voicing people's concern, that some foul play was involved in the death of party chief and former TN chief minister J Jayalalithaa.

Some sections of the Tamil Nadu polity are already buzzing – although somewhat mutedly – that Jayalalithaa was poisoned by Sasikala, who wanted all the power to be her own. An AIADMK leader has also recently claimed that Jayalalithaa landed at the Apollo Hospitals in Chennai – from where she would not emerge alive – after someone pushed her.

Probe into Amma's death?

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Both rumours were only bolstered when Sasikala brought her nephews back into the AIADMK after her conviction in the Disproportionate Assets (DA) case. Sasikala is now in prison in Bengaluru, serving out the sentence she received for her conviction in the DA case, but it had been expected that she would run the AIADMK and the TN government from there through her nephews, including Dinakaran. But both of them have since been ousted from the party.

Sasikala, it may be remembered, had been ousted by Amma from the party along with several members of her family on allegations that they had been running a parallel government. Only Sasikala had been allowed to return to the party because she had managed to convince Jayalalithaa that she had no knowledge of what her kin were doing.

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