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AIADMK leadership tussle: EPS, OPS supporters clash in Chennai

Former Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, former Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and other leaders of the party were also present at the June 23 meeting.

ANI | Chennai |

Supporters of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) E Palaniswami (EPS) and O Panneerselvam (OPS) clashed on the streets of Chennai ahead of the general council meeting amid a Madras court order that gave a go-ahead for the meeting to be held today.

The HC rejected a plea by OPS and allowed the general council meeting, which proposes to revive the interim general secretary post and abolish coordinator as well as joint coordinator posts to be held. The party general council chaired by presidium chairman A Tamil Mahan Hussain commenced after the court’s nod.

OPS supporter, Kolathur District Secretary, Krishnamurthy got hit by a stone thrown by EPS supporters at the party headquarters. The supporters of OPS and EPS also burnt posters and banners ahead of the meeting.

After the demise of Jayalalithaa in 2016, the party has been following a dual-leadership formula with EPS as co-coordinator and OPS as coordinator. The clamour has been growing louder for a single leader in the party since the district secretary meeting on June 14 this year.

In comparison to OPS, EPS enjoys the support of a large number of party MLAs and district secretaries and today’s meeting is expected to elevate EPS to the post of general secretary and abolish the dual leadership structure.

E Palaniswami arrived at the party office for the General Council meeting. Workers gathered in large number to welcome EPS holding banners with the slogans such as “EPS as single leader”.
Among those gathered outside the party headquarters was a man dressed up as AIADMK founder MGR.

AIADMK Presidium Chairman Tamil Magan Hussain on June 23 announced that they have decided to hold the next General Council Meeting (after the one that took place on June 23) of AIADMK at 9.15 a.m. on July 11.

Earlier on Sunday, the EPS camp of AIADMK held a discussion at the residence of EPS in Tamil Nadu.

After all the 23 resolutions of the General Committee members were rejected, the supporters of O Panneerselvam– who wanted to have the dual leadership format in the party continue– staged a walkout from the meeting.

“All members rejected all the 23 resolutions and the only demand of General Committee members is on single leadership. When the next General Committee meeting is convened, all these along with the resolutions for single leadership will be adopted,” AIADMK Deputy Coordinator KP Munusamy had said.

He further expressed that whenever the next General Council Meeting would happen, all the 23 resolutions and a single leadership resolution will be passed.

Former Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, former Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and other leaders of the party were also present at the June 23 meeting.

Palaniswami has been eyeing single leadership in the party and his camp is pushing for passing a resolution in the said regard during the June 23 meeting, while Panneerselvam claimed that the general body could not pass the resolution without his signature as per the party bylaw.

Both the camps held several rounds of talks to resolve the issue but remained unsuccessful.

OPS had also written a letter to EPS demanding postponement of the general body meeting citing a “confused situation” in the party which the AIADMK co-coordinator denied. In comparison to

OPS, EPS enjoys the support of a large number of party MLAs and district secretaries.

Amid all this drama, OPS’ long-time loyalists had also joined the EPS camp.

On Tuesday, Thiruvallur District Secretary Alexander and Puducherry State Secretary Anbalagan extended their support to EPS.

Amid a controversy over the issue of single leadership in AIADMK between OPS and EPS, the former had held an “individual meeting” with his supporters and district secretaries at the party office here.