AIADMK chief goes for major overhaul of party

CHENNAI,SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT:AIADMK general secretary and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Wednesday made significant changes to the party’s office-bearers of headquarters and sacked secretaries of several district units where the party could not perform well or where the party fell behind the expectation in the recent Assembly elections.

AIADMK general secretary and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. File photo

Ms. Jayalalithaa also constituted a team of senior party leaders as spokespersons to deal with the media and to participate in debates even as she dissolved the party’s disciplinary action committee and dispensed with the post of secretaries and deputy secretaries for Assembly constituencies. The stakes of former Electricity Minister Natham R. Viswanathan, one of the most powerful members of Ms. Jayalalithaa’s 2011-16 Cabinet and who was defeated in the election, had gone down in the party. He has been removed from the post of Dindigul district secretary, and A. Marudaraj, who is the Mayor of the Dindigul, has been appointed in his place.

Three ministers—K.C. Karuppannan (Erode Rural district), M. Manikandan (Ramanathapuram) and M.R. Vijyabaskar (Karur)—have become district secretaries.

In Theni district, Andipatti MLA Thanga Tamilselvan has become the district secretary. Another important change that has taken place in the district is the removal of P. Ravindranathakumar, son of Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam from the post of secretary of the Ilaignar and Ilampengal Pasarai (youth wing).

In Kanyakumari, where the party lost all the six constituencies, she removed former minister N. Thalavai Sundaram from the post of district secretary and appointed A. Vijayakumar, who was recently elected to the Rajya Sabha in his place. Mr. Thalavai Sundaram will, however, continue as AIADMK organisation secretary.

Similarly, Tirunelveli urban district secretary and sitting MP S. Muthukaruppan has been replaced by ‘Popular’ V. Muthiah. The party could win only five of the 10 constituencies in the Assembly elections from the district. Tirunelveli district panchayat president B. Narayanaperumal has replaced R. Murgaiayapandian as district secretary.

Changes in Chennai

In the State Capital, the North-Chennai (South) district secretary K.S. Srinivasan, who lost the election in the Harbour constituency, has been removed and former MP N. Balaganga has replaced him.

New secretaries have been appointed for Erode, Kancheepuram, Vellore and Villupuram district units as well.

Some district unit secretaries have been removed despite performing well in the elections.

For instance, B. Sathya, who was elected from T. Nagar constituency, has been replaced as South Chennai (North) district secretary. Former MLA V.P. Kalairajan has replaced him.

Likewise, in Salem district, where the AIADMK won 10 of the 11 seats, G. Venkatachalam has been appointed the new secretary.

In the party headquarters, former minister E. Mathusoothanan will function as presidium chairman, Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam as treasurer and senior leader M. Thambiduram as propaganda secretary.

The new team of party spokespersons include former Ministers C. Ponnaiyan, Panruti S. Ramachandran, R. Vaithilingam, B. Valarmathi, Vaigaiselvan, former Congress leader S.R. Balasubramoniyan, Avadi MLA Mafoi K. Pandiarajan, Nanjil Sampath, C.R. Saraswathi, Dheeran and Nirmala Periyasamy, a former news reader in Sun TV.