INDIA.CHENNAI: Bringing the dual-leadership model of AIADMK to an end, Edappadi K Palaniswami, also known as EPS, was today appointed as the interim General Secretary of the party. Rival leader O Panneerselvam or OPS has been expelled for “anti-party” activities.
The AIADMK General Council faced a lot of commotion in decision-making and discontentment among party cadre while scrapping the posts of Coordinator and Joint Coordinator, held by O Panneerselvam and Palaniswami respectively.
EPS and some senior party leaders accused OPS of allegedly siding with the DMK regime and working against the AIADMK. Responding to his expulsion, OPS said, “I was elected as the Coordinator by 1.5 crore party workers and that neither EPS nor another leader had the right to expel me. I will approach the court.”
In the meeting, 16 other resolutions were adopted, one of them also being Bharat Ratna for Periyar, MG Ramachandran (MGR) and J Jayalalitha. Amid a big round of applause from the General Council members, a special resolution moved by senior leader Natham R Viswanathan to remove OPS and his loyalists were adopted unanimously.
The decision to elevate EPS as the interim General Secretary came minutes after the Madras High Court allowed the party to hold its meeting of the General Council to decide the further structure of the party.
In another setback to the OPS camp,the high court rejected the plea by OPS seeking to stall the meeting which proposed to revive the post of interim General Secretary and abolish coordinator as well as joint coordinator posts. Meanwhile, Palaniswami announced Dindukal Srinivasan as the new AIADMK treasurer.
The party formally resolved to hold organisational polls in 4 months to elect General Secretary. Several bylaws were amended, which include fresh norms to fight for the top party position. One of the norms says only a person with 10-year primary membership of the party can contest the polls
Supporters of both the camps were seen throwing stones at each other and damaging vehicles outside the party office in Chennai ahead of the high court verdict. The Tamil Nadu Revenue Department has sealed the party headquarters in the wake of clashes.
The OPS camp on the other hand 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 on his part.
However, EPS argued that dual leadership is no longer in force as the previous meeting held on June 23 did not ratify the election of both leaders. Therefore, the meeting has no grounds.
Last week, the Supreme Court permitted team EPS to convene the meeting by the law. While EPS wanted singular leadership, OPS wanted the present dual leadership model to continue.
Both OPS and EPS had been working under the dual leadership model as per a truce adopted five years ago after the death of the then chief minister J Jayalalitha in December 2016.