The Election Commission has sought a response from the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam to Sasikala Pushpa’s (pictured above) complaint against the elevation of VK Sasikala to the post of party general secretary. Pushpa, who had been expelled from the party, on Saturday said she had submitted a “letter of dissent” to the poll panel on the “undemocratic nomination” of VK Sasikala, according to The Hindu.

Pushpa alleged that the party did not adhere to rules while nominating VK Sasikala to be general secretary after former chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s death. “The point of reference for your consideration is that AIADMK did not follow the by-laws of the party while nominating Sasikala Natarajan as so-called general secretary of AIADMK party. A similar petition was sent to the Prime Minister’s Office, the Tamil Nadu Chief Election Commissioner etc,” she said in a statement.

The former MP also accused Sasikala of being “autocratic”. Pushpa cited the incident when her husband was beaten up outside the party’s headquarters in Chennai when he had gone to submit her own nomination papers for the post of general secretary. “The party officials beat him [Lingeswara Thilagan] brutally and [the] police had detained him in illegal custody from 2 pm on December 28 to 9.30 am on December 29. It is a brutal attack on the democratic process,” she added.

Earlier on December 16, Pushpa had moved the Madras High Court, urging the judiciary to restrain the AIADMK general council from selecting Sasikala Natarajan for the position of general secretary. She had claimed that around 75% of AIADMK workers were not happy with Natarajan’s elevation to the party’s top position. “Amma (Jayalalithaa) had thrown her away from the party for conspiracy,” she had alleged.

There has been a great deal of speculation about VK Sasikala’s meteoric rise in the party. There are now rumours that she will be elected leader of the Assembly and be made the next chief minister, ahead of a meeting of the party’s MLAs on Sunday. This is especially so after the ouster of Jayalalithaa’s trusted adviser Sheela Balakrishnan and two other top bureaucrats from the state’s administration.