AIADMK chief condemns party functionary, demands for Senthil sacking

Chennai: AIADMK general secretary K Palaniswami on Saturday condemned the state government for the arrest of his party IT wing functionary for “sharing” a social media post on the earlier comments expressed by Chief Minister M K Stalin when he was opposition leader, on Minister V Senthil Balaji, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate.

Also, he demanded the state government to immediately drop Balaji from the council of ministers and asked the DMK allies to ponder and desist from toeing the DMK’s line but be unprejudiced on the arrest of Balaji on a charge of money laundering.

“It will be shameful if a minister, who has been arrested, is allowed to continue in the cabinet. This will be a blunder and may become a precedence. Considering political decency, he should be immediately dropped from the council of ministers,” the former Chief Minister said in a statement here.

On the arrest of the party functionary, Palaniswami said, “The only crime that AIADMK IT wing functionary Gowtham committed was to share someone’s social media post on what Stalin had said when he was the opposition leader, on the now jailbird Senthil Balaji.”

The arrest on Friday and also the manner of treating Gowtham was highly reprehensible, he said.

Till his remand late in the night, Gowtham’s parents or the party’s legal wing were not informed about the charges against him, the AIADMK leader said.

Palaniswami warned that the AIADMK would be constrained to seek the intervention of the court against the police if the latter continued to foist cases against the party functionaries over what the Chief Minister and the DMK members had uttered in a public forum.

“I wish to remind that the police were allowed to function independently without any political interference and acted as per law during the AIADMK rule. It’s agonising that the same police force is acting at the behest of the DMK,” Palaniswami said and added there would be regime change and with it the scenario. “Then the erring policemen will be made accountable,” he said.

Palaniswami called upon the Chief Minister to “stop intimidating the principal opposition AIADMK, and realise what the people say about Senthil Balaji and what his own party men think. A real leader is he who accepts criticism positively and transforms himself. The government should give up its stance of muzzling the media in a bid to shield Balaji,” he said.