South

As Tamil Nadu’s AIADMK leans towards E Palaniswami, rival OPS steps out


The AIADMK General Council meeting was held in Chennai.

Chennai:

The struggle for control of Tamil Nadu’s opposition AIADMK intensified on Thursday, with party leader O Panneerselvam stepping down from a key meeting as senior leaders backed a claim for “single leadership” by rival Edappadi Palaniswami.

As soon as the General Council meeting began amid chaotic scenes of slogan shouting, the process of passing 23 pre-resolutions was recorded.

The first of these was proposed by Mr Panneerselvam known as OPS and seconded by Mr Palaniswami known as EPS, who addressed the former as “brother” in his brief remarks.

However, senior leader Shanmugam, who was recently elected to the Rajya Sabha, announced that all resolutions were “rejected by the General Council”.

Deputy Secretary KP Munusamy said all GC members rejected all 23 proposed resolutions, adding: “Their only demand is for a single leadership.”

Before the meeting, palpable tensions prevailed while supporters of Mr Paneerselvam and Mr Palaniswami shouted slogans against each other.

While OPS was the first to enter the venue with his fans, EPS later made a dramatic entry as his followers ran to welcome him and take him to the stage.

The meeting came hours after the Madras High Court withheld the AIADMK General Council from taking any decision on the single leadership formula printed by EPS.

After a late-night hearing, the court said the party’s highest decision-making body could only accept the 23 resolutions already listed.

Yesterday, the court refused to restrict the General Council meeting. It has raised hopes for Mr Palaniswami or EPS, who is hoping to elevate himself as general secretary of the party.

His rival and current party boss O Panneerselvam or OPS wants the dual leadership format in the party to continue.

OPS’s lawyers argued in court yesterday that he would not allow any amendment or resolutions to the general council other than the 23 already submitted to him.

However, EPS’s lawyers argued that this could not be guaranteed as discussions take place based on what the members think.

Trouble began last week after supporters of EPS proposed the idea of ​​a single leadership under him at the district secretaries’ meeting.

However, OPS wanted a high-level committee, made up of senior leaders who worked with the party’s founder, MGR and Jayalalithaa, to be formed to lead the leadership.

He argued that after Jayalalithaa’s death, the party’s general council developed the dual leadership model and declared the late Jayalalithaa as the party’s eternal general secretary. He added any amendment would be a “betrayal”.

Jayalalithaa twice chose OPS by hand to be her prospective prime minister when she had to resign after her conviction. Although OPS was elevated for the third time just before his death, Jayalalithaa’s assistant UK Sasikala, who briefly took over the party, replaced him with EPS after he rebelled against her.

However, both leaders patched and suspended Ms Sasikala when she was in jail. OPS became the number one in the party and EPS his deputy. In government, OPS became Prime Minister EPS’s deputy.

During his four-year term as prime minister, EPS consolidated its position and brought the party under its control.

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