EPS Vs OPS: AIADMK’s Key General Council Meeting to Take Place Today Amid Leadership Tussle

After the Madras High Court refused to interfere with the general council and executive committee meeting of the opposition AIADMK, the crucial meeting in set to take place amid possibilities of another leadership change in party’s ranks, with the single leadership chorus in favour of joint coordinator K Palaniswami growing louder over the past few days.

The tussle between former Tamil Nadu chief minister and party co-coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) and his former deputy CM and coordinator O Panneersevelam (OPS) pertains to EPS seeking single leadership in the party and his camp keen on passing a resolution in this regard in June 23 meeting while OPS claims that the general body cannot pass the resolution without his signature as per party by-law.

Meanwhile, in some relief for OPS, Chief Justice of the Madras High Court said that while the general council meeting can happen on Thursday but only the 23 draft resolutions can be passed. The other resolutions (single leadership) can be discussed but cannot be passed.

OPS had approached the court in a bid to stop the general council meeting from going ahead and paving the way for his rival EPS as the sole leader. In his arguments, OPS told the court that he received 23 resolutions from the AIADMK headquarters via e-mail on June 21, and these were to be passed at the general council meeting on June 23.

In a cryptic tweet indicating that he has resigned to the fact that the odds are stacked against him, party coordinator O Panneerselvam had said on Wednesday said “Dharma will triumph again.”

The single leadership topic came up at a recent party meet, with calls for Palaniswami to take over the mantle gaining steam, even as the former Chief Minister saw a swelling support over the days with even some OPS aides switching camps.

In 2017, the party had done away with the post of the powerful General Secretary, held by the late J Jayalalithaa till her death in 2016, and introduced the coordinator and joint coordinator posts, resulting in dual leadership under which the party faced the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as well as last year’s assembly elections and the civic polls.

Following the internal rumblings, Panneerselvam had written to Palaniswami urging deferring the general council meet, with the issue also reaching the court. However, the Madras High Court ruled against the plea.

As of now, less than 10 district secretaries out of the total 75 secretaries for party districts and a group of office-bearers including Deputy Secretary R Vaithilingam are backing Panneerselvam, besides sections of ordinary party workers.

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