It has now asked Sasikala to either sign the response herself or by an authorised signatory who is in the Commission’s list of AIADMK office bearers and send it again by March 10. “Dinakaran (Sasikala’s nephew, who was hurriedly re-inducted into the party and nominated AIADMK Deputy General Secretary) is not an office bearer of your party as per the Commission’s record. The reply should either be submitted under your own signature or you may duly authorise somebody (office bearer) to do so on your behalf,” the poll watchdog said. Sasikala is at present lodged in a Bengaluru jail.
The AIADMK had defended the decision to appoint Sasikala as its interim General Secretary, saying the General Council of the party has the authority to make such an appointment. In its response to the February 17 notice by the Election Commission, the AIADMK also said those who later complained against Sasikala’s elevation had initially signed the resolution in her support. The party had told the Commission that its functioning would have come to a standstill had a new general secretary not been appointed after the demise of J Jayalalithaa.
Reacting to the ECI notice, former minister and a key member of the OPS faction K Pandiarajan said, “This is a victory for justice.” Stating that TTV Dinakaran was removed from the party by Jayalalithaa and was not a member for six years, he said “10 days ago, he suddenly gave an apology letter and was made the deputy general secretary the next day.” While pointing out that the election commission’s notice strengthened their position, Pandiarajan said that the same yardstick would apply to Sasikala too. “When she was nominated General Secretary on December 29, she had not completed five continuous years and thus cannot hold the post of party general secretary according to party rules,” he said. The ECI notification has also put the Sasikala faction in a fix as the AIADMK presidium chairman E Madhusoodhanan and treasurer OPS are among the only party leaders.