Veteran AIADMK leader and former assembly Speaker P H Pandian on Tuesday strongly opposed the elevation of V K Sasikala, saying she does not have the locus standi to either be the party chief or Chief Minister.
"Sasikala does not deserve to be either the party supremo or the Chief Minister," Pandian told reporters here, two days after Sasikala was elected AIADMK Legislature Party leader, paving the way for her becoming the chief minister.
Pandian said within 20 days of the demise of Jayalalithaa, party leaders were "made to say" that they wanted Sasikala to be the party chief.
Strongly opposing her elevation as AIADMK chief, Pandian said it was against party rules. "Only cadres can elect the general secretary," he said.
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Referring to late Jayalalithaa's properties, Pandian claimed that in 1996 Jayalalithaa had made a public declaration that all her properties should go to the people.
Pandian and his son Manoj Pandian, a party functionary who was also present, also made allegations related to Jayalalithaa's death, a day after a panel of doctors cleared the air on suspicions surrounding the demise.
Explaining party rules in detail, Manoj Pandian said Sasikala's elevation as party chief was improper and it went against party norms.
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Manoj claimed that in 2011 when Sasikala was readmitted into the party after being expelled, Jayalalithaa had told him that she will not involve her in politics.
"Violating party bylaws, one cannot become general secretary. If it was done, it is not sustainable," Pandian said. He alleged that "we were betrayed," and by trampling on "our rights" Sasikala had become the general secretary which he was "opposing" strongly.
Pandian's outburst against Sasikala comes days after former Minister KP Munusamy's open dissent against her. On February 6, he had hit out at Sasikala for making a "backdoor entry" to the Chief Minister's post and questioned why O Panneerselvam made way for her despite being the "preferred choice" of late Jayalalithaa.
"Sasikala does not deserve, she is ineligible to take charge as either party general secretary or chief Minister," Pandian said and also made some allegations on Sasikala and her family's business interests. Pandian alleged that Sasikala and her family members were expelled from the party by Jayalalithaa in 2011 for "plotting" to become Chief Minister by unseating 'Amma'.
He said Jayalalithaa had declared in 1996 after she was released from prison that year, "the properties and jewellery earned by me should go to the people, I do not need it." He said it was an open declaration of her "Will," adding he was then the party's legal adviser. Pandian also sought an inquiry on Jayalalithaa's hospitalisation while levelling allegations about some happenings at her Poes Garden residence.
Manoj, who was also AIADMK Rajya Sabha member between 2010-16, referred to the "present developments", an apparent reference to Sasikala being chosen AIADMK Legislature party leader, and said it was "happening against the wishes of the people by betraying them".
Referring to cases being faced by Sasikala and prospect of her becoming the Chief Minister, he said "where will such a development lead the country...it is a warning...we should be on guard...party bylaws provide that the general secretary must be elected from among the cadres of the party." "If the post of party chief becomes vacant, the office bearers appointed by the immediate previous supremo will continue to hold office till such time a general secretary is elected by the cadres," he said.
Against the background of Sasikala bringing back several senior leaders including KA Sengottaiyan into key party positions, Manoj claimed that she does not have any "right" to appoint or expel functionaries. "She does not have any authority as a temporary general secretary." "Till such time she is cleared by Election Commission, all proceedings (carried out by her in the party) on the basis of her election as temporary general secretary are illegal," he said.
Election Commission had recently sought the AIADMK'S response on a complaint filed by expelled Rajya Sabha MP Sasikala Pushpa against the election of V K Sasikala as party general secretary. She had alleged that Sasikala's elevation was againt party's bylaws.