The AIADMK today rejected reports of rift in the party and jockeying for the top post of General Secretary held by Jayalalithaa and said election will take place soon to choose her successor, amid speculation that Sasikala is the frontrunner.
AIADMK Organisational Secretary C Ponnaiyan also strongly defended Jayalalithaas aide Sasikala, saying there is nothing wrong in its leaders, including Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, calling on her as she is a key member.
“The party high command has taken a decision to elect a General Secretary and the election will happen soon,” he told reporters.
To a question related to state ministers recent meetings with Sasikala, he said, “Even if somebody (belonging to the party) met Sasikala Amma, what is wrong in it? Is she not an important member of the party? What you say is wrong.”
Asked about reported competition for the post of General Secretary, Ponnaiyan said he had already clarified that such reports are just rumours.
“There is no such thing like competition or problems…. There is nothing like this or that person competing (for the top post),” he said, adding AIADMK was a united party which has been built like a fortress by Amma.
Ona query about the role of Sasikalas husband Natarajan and other family members in the party, he said “this is an unnecessary question. The party is led and guarded by over 1.5 crore members.”
Drawing a distinction between government-led by AIADMK and the party organisation, he said at the party headquarters here that while the government was led by O Panneerselvam, the party was steered by elected bodies.
“AIADMK is steered by party bodies, including general and executive committees and functionaries at multiple levels and Sasikala is a key member,” Ponnaiyan, who is also the party spokesperson, said.
“Sasikala Amma lived with Puratchi Thalaivi Ammas (revolutionary leader Jayalalithaas) last breath. Such questions are unnecessary.”
Asked who the chief minister, ministers and other top officials are consulting by visiting the Poes Garden residence of the departed AIADMK supremo and if it is Sasikala, he said, “they are having a meeting with the Chief Minister there.”
“It (Veda Nilayam at Poes Garden) is Ammas house where Ammas portrait is there…. We are in mourning and it is still not over. They are going there (also) to pay homage. It is not good to invent imaginative reasons for everything.
“The party will soon elect a General Secretary who will guard the party and cadres, who follow the footsteps of Amma with godly devotion, and Tamil Nadu people,” he added.
On the reported anger among some cadres against Sasikala as access was not provided to anyone to visit Jayalalithaa during her hospitalisation, he said, “It is a planned rumour and spread wantonly… blaming this or that person is a deliberate rumour.”