In contrast to the avowed position of AIADMK's senior leadership that V.K. Sasikala will not be permitted entry, party's senior-most functionary and former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam on Monday said that a decision on this would be taken by senior leaders at party headquarters.
Panneerselvam was responding to queries of media persons at his home town Theni, on Monday when he said that the decision to take. Sasikala back into the AIADMK has to be taken by the senior party functionaries.
There have been reports of a wide split between the two top leaders of the party, O.Panneerselvam, and K. Palaniswami.
Sasikala, the former interim General Secretary of the party and the most powerful person during the regime of J. Jayalalithaa, is trying to make a reentry to the AIADMK after she became a persona non grata. Arrested and jailed in a disproportionate asset case in 2017, she has been trying to make a political comeback after her release, but the party leadership did not entertain her.
During the run-up to the 2021 Assembly elections, Sasikala made a dramatic announcement that she was quitting politics and that she would not meddle in it again. However after the DMK government assumed office in May 2021, Sasikala has been trying to return to the AIADMK and is in touch with the lower and mid-level functionaries of the party across the state.
It has to be seen as to how the BJP, which is an alliance partner of the AIADMK, reacts to Panneerselvam's statement.
While Panneerselvam has indirectly welcomed Sasikala, it is to be seen as to how other cadres and party leaders respond. Former minister D. Jayakumar had told the press that Sasikala would never be given an entry to the AIADMK, and another former minister, C. Ve Shanmugam has also come out vehemently against her.
Efforts to include Sasikala into the AIADMK commenced soon after the party has lost power and the powerful Thevar community -- to which Panneerselvam belongs -- does not want to split its votes and is said to have told Sasikala that she has to accept the leadership of Panneerselvam.