Asserting that there was no split in the party, AIADMK leader from Sasikala camp M Thambidurai today requested the Election Commission "not to entertain" the dissenting cadres, who have staked claim to AIADMK symbol and sought fresh election to the general secretary's post. The Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker, who met the Election Commission along with a delegation of AIADMK leaders, said that in a democratic system, people are free to raise various issues but not all of them can be considered. "There is no split in the party. A democratic system allows people to raise several issues and all those cannot be entertained. We are going to face the RK Nagar bypoll with cooperation from all party MPs and MLAs," said Thambidurai. Yesterday, the rival faction led by former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam had met Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi and staked claim to the AIADMK's symbol ahead of the upcoming by-poll to R K Nagar constituency in Chennai, which was represented by J Jayalalithaa. Thambidurai also said, "We have requested the election commission to not entertain issues raised by dissenting groups." Panneerselvam had demanded that the poll panel order fresh election for AIADMK general secretary's post, which was currently occupied V K Sasikala, alleging she was elevated to the position in violation of the norms.
She is serving the remainder of her prison term after her conviction was upheld by the Supreme Court in a disproportionate assets case. The OPS camp had said since Sasikala had not completed five years in the party after her reinduction, her elevation and appointments and removals made by her were in violation of the party bylaws. Countering these claims, Thambidurai said elections for the party's top post will be held after the tabling of the state budget and the bypoll in R K Nagar. "We have already told Chinnamma (Sasikala) was the interim general secretary and elections will be held for the top post after the bypolls are over," he said. Thambidurai also defended Sasikala's elevation as the party general secretary saying the procedures followed were similar to Jayalalithaa's elevation in 1989 after the demise of the then Chief Minister M G Ramachandran. "In 1989, Amma was also interim general secretary. So, Sasikala has the right to make any decision. Those who are opposing her elevation were the ones who signed the documents accepting Sasikala as the general secretary," he said. Thambidurai said Election Commission too had accepted documents of bypoll expenditure in three constituencies signed by her. "After Amma passed away, V K Sasikala signed the poll expenditure documents of bypolls held in Thanjavur, Aravakurichi and Thiruparankundram and the EC accepted them," Thambidurai said.
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