Former Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami was elected as the interim general secretary of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) on Monday, 11 July, distancing O Panneerselvam (OPS) from the power centre of the party. Accused of hobnobbing with the Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party to weaken the AIADMK, the executive council members passed a resolution to expel OPS from the party's primary membership. OPS' supporters R Vaithilingam, JCD Prabhakar, and PH Manoj Pandian too have been expelled.
OPS sharply retorted saying, "I have been elected (as party coordinator) by 1.5 crore cadres of our party. As per law, we will challenge it in court. I will meet the cadres and seek justice."
"General Council expelling me isn't valid. Edappadi Palaniswami and KP Munusamy have acted against the law and so I announce that they have been expelled from the primary membership of the party."O Panneerselvam
The party revived the post of general secretary and terminated dual leadership. The election for the post will be held within four months.
OPS staged a sit-in protest outside the AIADMK party headquarters in Royappettah, Chennai. Revenue officials at the AIADMK office then sealed the property, citing it as a 'disputed ' property. Section 144 of the CrPC was promulgated in the area where the AIADMK office was located.
Earlier in the morning, the Madras High Court allowed the AIADMK party's general council meeting to be held at 9 am, rejecting OPS' plea. The verdict was pronounced on Monday morning, stating that the will of the majority has to prevail and thus, the court will not interfere.
Ahead of the meeting, factions of EPS and OPS clashed outside the party headquarters. The cadres resorted to stone-pelting and burning of posters. More than 10 persons were injured in the violence.
The police carried out a mild lathi charge against the AIADMK cadres outside the party office.
Meanwhile, the general council meeting was held in Vanagaram on the outskirts of Chennai.
With the OPS faction sternly opposing the meeting, the party reportedly installed entry control equipment like flap barriers and turnstiles to allow only authorised functionaries with access cards inside the venue.
The presiding chairman of the party, Tamil Magan Hussain flagged off the meeting at 9:15 am. AIADMK senior leader C Ponnaiyan requested the executive council to pass resolution 16 as already discussed, and it was unanimously passed.
Several senior AIADMK leaders have come out in support of EPS; senior AIADMK leader and former Minister Natham R Viswanathan had said that he was confident EPS would be made general secretary of the party.
"Barring a few, all 23 resolutions rejected at the June 23 GC meeting would be adopted on 11 July," he said, adding that 99 percent of AIADMK office-bearers favour EPS.
It is to be noted that OPS and EPS were jointly elected as coordinator and joint coordinator respectively of the party by way of a single vote process in December 2021. The EPS faction has decided to strike down the dual leadership role and distance O Panneerselvam (OPS) from the power centre at the party.
Sources said that the meeting may take steps to remove OPS as treasurer as he has “failed" in discharging his duties. OPS is likely to skip the meeting and is holding discussions with his supporters at his Greenways Road residence.
The Madras High Court, on Monday, 4 July, refused to interfere with the call made by the AIADMK to conduct a general council meeting on 11 July.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday, 6 July, put a stay on a previous order by a division bench of the Madras High Court, which restrained the AIADMK general council from amending party by-laws during its meeting.
The SC also refused to interfere with the call made by the party to conduct a general council meeting on 11 July.
The OPS faction has already appealed to the Election Commission (EC), stating the proposed general council meeting scheduled for 11 July cannot be valid as OPS, the coordinator of the party, did not sanction permission.