The AIADMK General Council witnessed difficulty in decision-making and discontentment among the party cadre while scrapping the posts of Coordinator and Joint Coordinator.
Chennai: Putting an end to the present dual-leadership model in Tamil Nadu’s principal opposition party AIADMK, party leader Edappady K Palaniswami (EPS) was today elected as the interim general secretary of the AIADMK.
The General Council with over 2,500 members elevated EPS to steer the party as a single supreme leader, while rival leader O Panneerselvam or OPS was expelled for “anti-party” activities.
His supporters R Vaithilingam and P H Manoj Pandian were also thrown out of the party.
The AIADMK General Council witnessed difficulty in decision-making and discontentment among the party cadre while scrapping the posts of Coordinator and Joint Coordinator, held by O Panneerselvam and Palaniswami respectively. Under the dual leadership, the AIADMK had suffered three successive defeats in the elections.
Edappady K Palaniswami and some senior party leaders including, K P Munusamy, alleged OPS of siding with the DMK regime and working to weaken the AIADMK. Responding to his expulsion, O Panneerselvam said he was elected as the Coordinator by “1.5 crores” party workers and that neither EPS nor another leader had the right to expel him.
The General Council meeting chaired by presidium chairman A Tamil Mahan Hussain began at around 9.15 am after a go-ahead from the Madras High Court. The plea was filed in the court by O Panneerselvam seeking a stay on the meeting called by the faction led by Edappady K Palaniswami.
In the meeting, the party officially resolved to hold organizational elections in 4 months to elect General Secretary. It has amended several bylaws, which include fresh norms to fight for the top party position.
One of the norms says only a person with 10 years of primary membership of the party can contest the polls.
A resolution was adopted at the meeting urging the center to confer ‘Bharat Ratna’ on late leaders- Periyar E V Ramasamy, CN Annadurai, and J Jayalalithaa.
Supporters of both groups were seen on camera throwing stones at each other outside the party headquarters in Chennai this morning ahead of the high court verdict. Visuals also showed some people Vandalising vehicles parked nearby.
Earlier, the OPS camp had contended before the court that only the Coordinator and the Joint Coordinator can convene the meeting as per law. And this meeting called by the newly-appointed presidium chairman is technically illegal. OPS had also accused that the invite for the meeting was not signed.
However, team EPS argued that dual leadership is no longer in force as the previous meeting held on June 23 did not ratify the election of both leaders, and hence the presidium chairman convened the meeting, and the office-bearer’s sending invites is legal.
They also pointed out OPS was appointed as the party chief in 2017 adopting the same model.
Last week, the Supreme Court permitted the EPS faction to convene the meeting in accordance with the law. While EPS wanted singular leadership, OPS wanted the present dual leadership model to continue.
Jayalalithaa had twice handpicked OPS to be her stand-in-chief minister when she had to step down following her conviction. Though OPS was promoted for the third time just before she died, Jayalalithaa’s aide VK Sasikala, who briefly took over the party, replaced him with EPS after he revolted against her.
She announced EPS as Chief Minister before she was imprisoned in the disproportionate assets case in which Jayalalithaa was the prime accused.
However, in a sensational political twist, both leaders patched up and expelled Sasikala when she was in jail. OPS became the Chief Minister and EPS became Deputy Chief Minister in the government.
During their four-year term as chief minister, EPS consolidated his post and brought the party under his control.
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