Updated: June 23, 2022 8:00:32 am
The Madras High Court on Wednesday refused to stay the AIADMK’s general council meeting on Thursday while hearing a petition from party’s coordinator O Panneerselvam’s camp. The court also refused to impose conditions on the likely decisions to be taken in the meeting.
Panneerselvam camp had moved the petition in the High Court on Wednesday, seeking an order to stall the meeting. Panneerselvam, also known as OPS, wants to thwart the meeting as joint coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswami, who controls 90 per cent of the party, wanted the party to get rid of the dual leadership and have just one leader.
Palaniswami, known among his fans as EPS, had a busy day on Wednesday as more leaders came to his home on Greenways Road in Chennai to offer support. Many party leaders from different districts of Tamil Nadu jostled one another to take pictures with him.
Palaniswami told The Indian Express that he could not say anything about the general council meeting before it took place. “But there will be clarity soon,” he said.
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V Maitreyan, who used to be a strong OPS supporter, joined the EPS camp on Wednesday. Maitreyan said the party needed a single leader. “Amma (the late party leader J Jayalalithaa) said the AIADMK would always be a party for the people. I know that we need a single, strong leader to do this. EPS is the best person for that job. I decided to help him because the majority of party cadres support him,” he said.
Mafoi Pandiarajan, a former minister and well-known OPS groupie, offered support to EPS on Tuesday.
Ever since the fight started over the single leadership issue, OPS had made several statements and talked about different ways to prevent the meeting. But what really made the difference was not the noise, but the quiet strength of EPS. When EPS wanted to send a message to the media, he sent senior leaders like D Jayakumar and RB Udhayakumar.
When his letter to EPS seeking cancellation of the meeting and a plea before the police to not let the meeting take place were turned down, his camp filed a petition in HC, saying that the meeting’s agenda should have been sent to the general council members before the meeting.
Jayakumar, who was also a minister, said that OPS kept making mistakes. “Because he keeps making the same mistakes, I am very worried about his future,” he said, referring to an old song from the movie of the party’s founder, MG Ramachandran, whose lyrics say that footsteps that go the wrong way do not reach the village, or their destiny. Jayakumar said there was no doubt the party needed just one leader. “Most of the district leaders have told EPS in person that this is what they want,” he said.
As he lost almost all of his loyalists, OPS was also losing the choices he had. He approached the high court on Wednesday after his letter asking EPS to cancel the general council meeting as well as a police complaint to prevent it were turned down. His high court petition says the meeting’s agenda should have been sent to all general council members beforehand and that it did not happen.
The OPS camp said the meeting could not be held without an agenda and that the EPS faction wanted to change the party bylaws and bring back the position of general secretary, which was taken away after Jayalalithaa died.
According to the OPS camp, Panneeselvam had signed 23 draft resolutions sent to him for approval. He will not sign one more, the camp said.
Meanwhile, a lawyer from the EPS camp said the party’s bylaws were changed in 2017, creating the positions of coordinator and joint coordinator, at a general council meeting held without an agenda and that the council had the power to delete, change or add to the bylaws.
Interestingly, both OPS and EPS signed the call letter for the general council meeting.
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