Chennai : The ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, which presented a picture of unity since the death of its leader Jayalalithaa early last month, faced its first rebellion on Monday when former minister and senior leader K P Munusamy questioned the role of party general secretary V K Sasikala’s family members, particularly her brother in the organisation.
On Sunday, Sasikala’s brother Divakaran, who was expelled from the AIADMK by Jayalalithaa and arrested in 2012, at a public function in Thanjavur in central Tamil Nadu boasted that he and his uncle Natarajan (Sasikala’s husband) had played a crucial role in saving the AIADMK after the death of its founder M G Ramachandran in December 1987. He said that the Sasikala family ensured that the party did not lose its election symbol and protected Jayalalithaa during trying times.
Objecting to this, Munusamy, who is one among the many second line leaders of the AIADMK and a prominent figure in western Tamil Nadu, convened a press conference on Monday. “These people (Divakaran and others), who were expelled from the party by Amma (Jayalalithaa) are now trying to take control of the party and this will not be tolerated by the party cadres. Sasikala must take note of this and ensure that Divakaran apologises to the cadres for having hurt their sentiments by claiming credit for the party’s unity and success,” Munusamy said.
The former minister argued that Divakaran was not even a primary member of the party and hence had no locus standi to speak on behalf of the party. Many party cadres were of the same view, he said.
Munusamy also came out in support of Chief Minister O Panneerselvam hailing him as a humble leader who was with the people. He is the first AIADMK leader to openly back Panneerselvam as many others including ministers have been urging Sasikala to take over as Chief Minister.
Hours after Munusamy’s press conference, three ministers – O S Manian, C Ve Shanmugam and Kamaraj – met journalists one after the other at different venues and condemned him. They all accused Munusamy of having been bought over by rivals and said his outburst against the Sasikala family was unwarranted and should not have been aired outside the party platform.
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