AIADMK tussle: EPS elected as party's interim general secretary
In a big win for AIADMK coordinator E Palaniswami (EPS), the Madras High Court on Monday allowed the General Council meeting of the party where EPS was elevated as the interim general secretary of the party and abolished the dual leadership structure. This has come as a setback for AIADMK leader O Panneerselvam (OPS) amid a leadership tussle in the party against EPS.
- After the demise of AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa in 2016, the party has been following a dual-leadership formula with OPS as coordinator and EPS as co-coordinator.
- However, the clamor for a single leader has been growing with EPS enjoying the support of a majority of MLAs and district secretaries.
- Monday's meeting proposed to revive the interim general secretary post, abolishing the dual leadership structure.
The AIADMK's 2,500-member General Council has made EPS the interim general secretary of the party. Earlier on Monday, as EPS arrived at the party office in Chennai's Vanagaram for the meeting, party workers welcomed him with banners and called for "EPS as a single leader." Meanwhile, supporters of both EPS and OPS factions clashed on the streets of Chennai ahead of the court's ruling.
AIADMK Presidium Chairman Tamil Magan Hussain, on June 23, announced they would hold a General Council meeting on July 11 (Monday). The previous meeting was held on June 23, which was attended by both OPS and EPS, where all 23 resolutions of the General Committee members were rejected, while the demand for single leadership was accepted. Following this, the OPS faction staged a walkout.
The OPS faction termed the meeting called by the newly-appointed presidium chairman illegal as only the coordinator and joint coordinator could convene meetings. However, the EPS faction said that after the June 23 meeting, the dual leadership structure didn't hold ground. To recall, the Supreme Court last week allowed the EPS faction to hold the meeting as per the law.
When Jayalalithaa was convicted in the disproportionate assets case and had to step down as chief minister, she had picked OPS to be the stand-in CM twice. However, after her death, Jayalalithaa's aide VK Sasikala replaced him with EPS for rebelling against her. Notably, Sasikala had briefly taken over the reins of the party after Jayalalithaa's demise until she was jailed.
After Sasikala was jailed, OPS and EPS joined hands in a dramatic twist and expelled her. OPS was the number one in the party, while EPS was his deputy. However, during the AIADMK government's tenure, EPS became the CM and OPS, his deputy. During his four-year tenure, EPS made his position in the party strong, with party members wanting him to be their leader.