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Irked by Anwar Raja's Support for Sasikala, Criticism of Top Brass, AIADMK Shows Former Minister the Door

By: Poornima Murali

CNN-News18

Last Updated: December 01, 2021, 08:48 IST

With Raja's removal, Panneerselvam and Palaniswami are signalling to the AIADMK cadre, and opposition party DMK, that both are digging their heels in and refuse to accommodate Sasikala as a leader of the party.  (ANI)

With Raja's removal, Panneerselvam and Palaniswami are signalling to the AIADMK cadre, and opposition party DMK, that both are digging their heels in and refuse to accommodate Sasikala as a leader of the party. (ANI)

At a meeting, Raja had criticised the party's opaque functioning and losing sight of the larger goals set by party founder MG Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa.

Just a day ahead of an important working committee meeting of the AIADMK, the party top brass expelled former minister, Parliamentarian, and the party’s minorities wing secretary Anwar Raja after his pointed critique of the top brass’s functioning at a district secretaries meeting.

In a press release late on Tuesday, O Panneerselvam and Edappadi K Palaniswami, the coordinator and joint coordinator of AIADMK, announced that Raja was removed from all party posts, besides scrapping his party membership. “For his anti-party activities and intent to harm the reputation of the party, he is hereby removed from all posts, including his basic membership in the party," they said.

Recently, Raja had stirred the hornet’s nest by being vocal in his criticism of the party leadership. At a district secretaries meeting, Raja had risen to deliver a pointed critique of the party’s opaque functioning and losing sight of the larger goals set by the party founder MG Ramachandran and icon J Jayalalithaa. Raja was heckled, and, according to an interview he’d given to a news channel, asked to leave.

There have also been reports that Raja had been taking a stance favouring VK Sasikala, the outlying contender to J Jayalalithaa’s legacy at the AIADMK. The AIADMK leadership, according to several party sources, had decided to remove Raja due to his consistently standoffish attitude towards the top brass.

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With Raja’s removal, Panneerselvam and Palaniswami are signalling to the AIADMK cadre, and opposition party DMK, that both are digging their heels in and refuse to accommodate Sasikala as a leader of the party.

Sasikala, in her own right, has been putting out audio messages of her phone conversations with her loyalists about “redeeming the party to its former glory." The working council meeting of the AIADMK, slated Wednesday, is expected to shed more light on the party’s leadership trajectory for the future.

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first published:December 01, 2021, 08:48 IST
last updated:December 01, 2021, 08:48 IST