The Election Commission today rejected the response of the AIADMK on the elevation of V K Sasikala as general secretary, saying T T V Dinakaran, who signed the letter, is not in its list of party office bearers. 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 reinducted 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 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.
Citing the example of RJD supremo Lalu Yadav, convicted in the fodder scam and on bail, who continues to remain that party’s National President, Navaneethakrishnan said there was no bar for Sasikala to continue as AIADMK General Secretary. Sasikala is presently serving a prison term in Bengaluru in the Rs 66 crore dispropotionate assets case. The issue of Sasikala’s post was AIADMK’s “internal affair” and neither Election Commission of India nor court can intervene in it, he said, adding, the EC can only ask for the party’s organisational polls to be conducted.
In fact, all queries posed by the EC to Sasikala in connection with the rival Panneerselvam camp challenging her election as AIADMK General Secretary have been answered, Navaneethakrishnan said. On Panneerselvam’s proposed fast next week seeking a probe into the death of former AIADMK supremo, the late Jayalalithaa, he said the “matter is sub-judice” and nobody can talk about it. He also charged Panneerselvam with shedding “crocodile tears” in the matter.