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The battle for the legacy of former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalithaa has once again come to the doorstep of the Delhi High Court.
Ever since the death of Jayalalithaa, there has been constant infighting among groups within the party. Presently, there are two factions laying claim to Jayalalithaa’s political legacy.
One faction is led by Jayalalithaa’s former associate and close friend Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dinakaran, while the other one is led by current Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami and Deputy CM O Panneerselvam, referred to as the OPS-EPS faction.
Earlier, the Single Judge Bench of Justice Rekha Palli had allowed the prayers of the Dinakaran faction, and had permitted them to adopt a temporary symbol until the Court determines which faction is the original AIADMK.
E Palaniswami had then appealed to the Supreme Court, which had directed the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court to constitute a Division Bench to decide the dispute. The Apex Court order also kept in abeyance the order passed by Justice Palli.
Today, the Division Bench of Justice GS Sistani and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal heard arguments put forth by the Sasikala-Dinakaran faction.
Appearing for Sasikala, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal stated that the group led by Sasikala claims to be the successor of the original AIADMK. He further stated that the constitution of the AIADMK is different from any other party.
“A General Secretary has to be elected by the primary members of the party. That is the basic structure of the constitution of the party.”
Sibal argued that all powers are vested in the office of the General Secretary. Neither an MP nor an MLA has any role to play in terms of the election of the General Secretary, who nominates members to the Parliamentary board, and whose decision has to be considered as final.
“The essence of our case is that without a meeting of the primary members of the party, the other side (OPS-EPS faction) amended the constitution of the party…If they don’t follow the constitution of the party, how can they be the real AIADMK?”
The matter will next be heard on April 20.