AIADMK leaders meet to iron out transition plans

R Balaji Chennai | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on December 09, 2016

O Panneerselvam with MLAs at the party headquarters on Monday

Democratising party, naming General Secretary among prime concerns

The Poes Garden residence of late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa continued to be the hub for party activities, with senior AIADMK leaders holding discussions on Friday — the second straight day — on what needs to be done to hold the party flock together.

The aim is to arrive at a middle ground on choosing a General Secretary to succeed Jayalalithaa, and also to accommodate party veterans and loyalists, who have been out in the cold, according to sources in the know.

Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and Sasikala, Jayalalithaa’s close confidante for over three decades and a power behind the scenes and a contender for the top post, were among those present.

While identifying a General Secretary for the party is one of the prime concerns, the immediate focus is to ensure a smooth transition in the party, with senior leaders to be appointed to the State Cabinet or top party posts over the coming months.

The party leadership has also taken into account the groundswell of opposition among party workers to Sasikala’s emergence, particularly in her taking over as General Secretary.

Senior party leader KA Sengottaiyan, a former minister, on Friday came out with a strong statement underlining his unswerving loyalty to the AIADMK.

The death of Jayalalithaa, who was known as the ‘permanent’ General Secretary of the party since she took over in 1989 upon the demise of party founder MG Ramachandran, has left a void that none of the present crop can fill unchallenged.

Whether for MGR or Jayalalithaa, the top post was theirs’ and their word was law within the party. But with the death of Jayalalithaa and the absence of a second-rung leadership, the party finds itself without that one person who can command unquestioned obedience.

Published on December 09, 2016
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