The ruling AIADMK's General Council on Tuesday annulled the appointment of V.K. Sasikala as the party's General Secretary and also struck down the appointments made by her before going to jail, including making her nephew T.T.V. Dinakaran the party Deputy General Secretary.
In other major decisions, the General Council altered the party's organisational structure to a collective leadership structure. It amended the party rules whereby none will be elected or nominated to the post of General Secretary - a position held by party supremo and late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa till her death.
The General Council also decided that party Coordinator (now held by Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam) and Joint Coordinator (held by Chief Minister K. Palaniswami) will oversee the party affairs.
The General Council also introduced a rule whereby the party's Coordinator and Joint Coordinator would be elected by the General Council, and they would hold the post for five years.
With the annulment of the appointment of Dinakaran as Deputy General Secretary, the appointments made by him are also struck down.
Sasikala was appointed interim General Secretary last December following the death of party supremo and Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa.
Sasikala had appointed Dinakaran as Deputy General Secretary before going to jail.
The council also ratified the recent merger of the two factions led by Palaniswami and Panneerselvam.
One of the basic demands of Panneerselvam camp for the merger with Palaniswami was the dismissal of Sasikala and her family members from the party.
Party officials said the power to admit or dismiss a member rests with the party General Secretary. This power has been now transferred to party Coordinator and Joint Coordinator following the amendments to the rules.
Party officials said the dismissal of Sasikala and her family from the party may happen now - under the new organisational structure.
The General Council also resolved to restore all those who were party office bearers appointed by Jayalalithaa. They will continue to hold office now, it said.
A total of 14 resolutions including the ones hailing the merger of two factions; the government for celebrating the birth centenary of late Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran and AIADMK Founder; the decision of the government to build a memorial for Jayalalithaa and others were passed at the General Council meeting that was attended by around 2,140 members.
Loyalists of Dinakaran, including law makers and members of General Council, boycotted the meeting.
Reacting to the General Council resolutions Dinakaran said the Madras High Court on Monday has said the decisions of the meeting are subject to its final judgement in a case filed against the holding of the meeting.
Dinakaran, who is leading 21 party legislators, on Tuesday said he would work towards bringing down the K. Palaniswami government.
"You (Chief Minister Palaniswami) and others have no moral right to sit in positions of power that was once wielded by Jayalalithaa. We will send this government home," Dinakaran told a press conference later.
Citing the resolution that states that the party members cannot visualise anybody else as General Secretary other than the late Jayalalithaa, he wondered whether the same logic would also apply to the Chief Minister's post?
"As per the party rules, the General Secretary will be elected by the primary members of the party if there is an election. The amendment by the ruling faction has effectively taken away the only right of the 1.5 crore members," C.R. Saraswathi, spokesperson of Dinakaran faction, told IANS.
As per AIADMK constitution, the party General Secretary is elected directly by the primary members. The party has around 1.5 crore members.
Saraswathi said as per the amended rule, a primary member who had the power to elect the top most leader of the party can now elect only the local level office bearers.
This is a great letdown for the party cadres who slog it out during the elections and at other times, she said.
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