Legal hurdles cleared for Tuesday’s AIADMK General Council meeting

A bench of Madras High Court on Monday late night did not stay the ruling AIADMK’s General Council meeting on Tuesday but said the decisions taken at the meeting are subject to its final decision.

With legal hurdles crossed, the meeting of the AIADMK is all set to be held here to invalidate decisions taken in “contravention” of party bye-laws, a party leader said on Monday.

A resolution was expected to be passed to declare all those decisions as “null and void”, the leader, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told IANS.

The resolution, once passed, would automatically make the appointment of jailed General Secretary V.K. Sasikala void ab initio and also her subsequent decisions about party matters, he said.

On Monday, lawmaker P. Vetrivel petitioned the High Court to stall the General Council Meeting contending that the meeting convened by the ruling faction was “illegal” since only the party General Secretary has the power to call such a meeting.

Hearing the petition, a single judge not only dismissed a petition of Vetrivel but also imposed a fine of Rs 100,000 on the loyalist of party Deputy General Secretary T.T.V.Dinakaran.

Earlier in the day, a local court in Bengaluru stayed the holding of General Council meeting in a petition filed by Pugazhendhi, another loyalist of Dinakaran.

The decision to call a meeting was taken on August 28 at an AIADMK meeting.

It was also decided to retrieve the party’s mouthpiece Namadhu MGR and television channel Jaya TV.

According to the AIADMK leader, the meeting was called near here to abide by a party rule that mandates holding of the General Council meeting at least once a year.

According to him, there are two views on a resolution to expressly dismiss Sasikala from the party post.

“One view is that supporters of Sasikala — her nephew and party Deputy General Secretary Dinakaran — will attend the General Council meeting and thus an express resolution dismissing her may offend them and hence the need for a softer and indirect approach.

“The other view is to have a straight resolution dismissing her and putting at rest any further speculation, he said.

The General Council has around 1,300-1,400 members, and nearly 85 per cent of them are supporters of the ruling faction.

He said all council members from the time of the then General Secretary and Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa would be attending.

Party officials said invitations for the meeting had been sent to all members, including supporters of the Sasikala-Dinakaran faction.

The General Council meeting will be held at a time when the opposition led by the DMK has accused the AIADMK government led by K. Palaniswami of having lost the majority in the assembly and demanding that it prove its majority on the floor of the house.

On Sunday, after urging Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao to convene the assembly within a week, DMK Working President M.K. Stalin said 21 legislators belonging to the Dinakaran faction are opposed to Chief Minister Palaniswami.

In the 235-member assembly, there are 234 members, including one nominated member without voting rights.

One seat remains vacant following the death of Jayalalithaa last year.

Effectively, the number of legislators with voting rights in the assembly is 233.

The number of legislators opposed to the government is 119, including the DMK and allies with 98 and Dinakaran faction’s 21.

“The ruling party has the support of only 114 legislators,” Stalin said.

Following the death of Jayalalithaa, the party split into three factions led by Sasikala, Palaniswami and former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam.

The Election Commission froze the party’s ‘two leaves’ election symbol due to competing claims.

Last month, the factions led by Palaniswami and Panneerselvam merged. This group now wants to oust Sasikala, a long-time aide of Jayalalithaa.

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