Tamil Nadu may see a change of guard as a section of ruling AIADMK MLAs are likely to urge Sasikala, a close aide of late Jayalalithaa, to take over the reins of the government at a meeting in Chennai on Sunday.
The party has ‘summoned’ its MLAs for an emergency meeting on Sunday afternoon prompting many analysts to speculate that Sasikala may be elevated to the post of chief minister.
However, the sources did not commit on the agenda of the meeting and declined to confirm reports that the MLAs would urge Sasikala, the AIADMK General Secretary, to take over as Chief Minister.
“It is is all your imagination and guess work,” a senior leader said when asked about reports of Sasikala taking over from Chief Minister O Panneerselvam.
Among others, Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai has backed Ms. Sasikala for the Chief Minister’s post.
Following late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s death on December 5 last year, Ms. Sasikala was appointed the party General Secretary.
On Friday, Sasikala had appointed senior leaders, including some former Ministers and a former Mayor, to key party posts.
Former Ministers K A Sengottaiyan, S Gokula Indira and B V Ramana, besides ex-Mayor Saidai S Duraisamy were made the AIADMK’s Organisation Secretaries.
The appointments also included that of Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar to a key party post.
She had also announced removal of Ambattur MLA V Alexander as AIADMK’s MGR Youth Wing Secretary.
He will, however, continue as the party’s Tiruvallore (East) District Secretary, Ms. Sasikala had said in a statement.
Last month, Thambidurai had said that the leadership in both the party and governance should be with the same person, while urging Ms. Sasikala to take over as Chief Minister.
He had cited the political tussle in Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh to drive home his point that the control of government and party should vest with the same person.
Sasikala was appointed as general secretary by AIADMK’s top decision-making body General Council on December 29. She took charge of the post on December 31, pledging to take forward the legacy of Jayalalithaa.
In December last year, four state ministers had asked Sasikala to become the Chief Minister, besides AIADMK general secretary.
A resolution to this effect was passed at a meeting of Tirunelveli Urban Jaya Peravai (Forum), led by state AIADMK secretary and revenue minister R B Udhayakumar on December 17.
The other ministers who participated in the meeting were V M Rajalakshmi, Sevoor Ramachandran and Kadambur Raju.
Sasikala, 62, had been a close aide of the late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for three decades and was always seen as a power centre in AIADMK.
Meanwhile, in Bengaluru, the BJP sought to steer clear of the “internal matter” of AIADMK as Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday declined to comment on reports that there might be attempts to urge Sasikala to take over as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister at party MLAs meet tomorrow.
“That is an internal matter of the AIADMK. We don’t decide who should be their secretary or general secretary. It is their internal problem, let them decide,” Naidu told reporters.
(JKR staff and PTI)