It appears that ruling AIADMK is struggling to explain why the party line of same person being both the party chief and the chief minister was not implying now.
The "one person for CM and AIADMK chief" slogan was pitched by party leaders to catapult V K Sasikala to the office of Chief Minister after she was named party General Secretary in December 2016.
Party leaders, including AIADMK propaganda secretary and Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai, had maintained that the leadership of both the party and government should be in the "same hands" to ensure goals like good governance and better implementation of welfare programmes. Highlighting this aspect, party leaders, including Thambidurai, had urged Sasikala to immediately become Chief Minister.
Eventually, she "agreed" and was elected Leader of the AIADMK Legislature Party on February 5. However, she was not invited to form the government despite her staking claim. On February 14, she was convicted in the Disproportionate Assets case by the Supreme Court.
Against this background, when reporters today asked Thambidurai if Edappadi K Palaniswami will be made the party General Secretary, he said, "That view will not be necessary now." However, when journalists pressed him on, he conceded that it had been indeed the party line before.
"Now the situation is different. It is true that we had said so. Due to legal problems, since Chinnamma is not available, that view will not be necessary now," he said. Stressing that the present situation is "extraordinary," in an apparent indication of the incarceration of Sasikala, he said hence the previous view will not be applicable now.
"Already the party has elected Chinnamma as General Secretary. That question does not arise now," he said. On Palaniswami being appointed Chief Minister, he said, "It is a happy news. An opportunity to do good for the people."
To another query, he said, "There is no split in AIADMK. All are together. Together, Amma's party will continue to do good for people. Dharma has won. We will take forward the legacy of Amma."
He said the new regime had the blessings of Chinnamma (Sasikala). Asked about the possibility of those like outgoing Chief Minister O Panneerselvam making a comeback, Thambidurai said, "He was expelled from the party and is no more a member of our party."