AIADMK’s expelled interim General Secretary V.K. Sasikala has commenced a tour of Tamil Nadu to drum up support from the party cadres to emerge as the top party leader amid the intense power struggle between former Chief Ministers, O. Panneerselvam and K. Palaniswami.
Aiming to travel across all the state’s districts to meet local leaders and members, Sasikala had termed her venture ‘Puratchi Payanam’ (revolutionary trip), aimed at defending the rights of Tamil soil and the dignity of women.
Sasikala, who was once the most trusted and powerful aide of former Chief Minister, late J. Jayalalithaa, told media persons during her yatra that she has the responsibility to protect the movement and has commenced this tour for the protection of the AIADMK.
She also said that the AIADMK must have a single leader to lead the party but that leader must be elected from among the cadres and not decided by a few people.
Sasikala said that the AIADMK was facing its biggest challenge in 50 years of its existence and that this adversity could be overcome by staying united.
She also said that the recent developments in the AIADMK are to the happiness of the ruling DMK and that she would not allow the AIADMK to be decimated and hence the yatra.
She said that she had made both Panneerselvam and Palaniswami Chief Ministers but both of them did not show gratitude to her in the long run.
The powerful Thevar community, which has been the vote bank of the AIADMK in south Tamil Nadu is expecting a realignment between Sasikala and Panneerselvam, both of whom are from the community. Sources in the AIADMK told IANS that several meetings were conducted between the Thevar community leaders with both Sasikala and Panneerselvam separately.
With the power of Panneerselvam waning in the AIADMK, the only option left is to drum up the support of cadres and for that, Sasikala is undertaking her state-level yatra.