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AIADMK appoints Edappadi Palaniswami as interim general secretary, expels O Panneerselvam

CHENNAI: The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) today annulled the dual leadership structure and formally appointed Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) as the party’s Interim General Secretary, vesting in him full powers to helm the organisation.

In its Executive Committee and General Council meeting held here, the AIADMK endorsed scrapping the erstwhile top two positions of Coordinator and Joint Coordinator held by OPS and Palaniswami, respectively.

In the meet, O Panneerselvam (OPS) was expelled from the party’s primary membership and from his post of treasurer. It was senior leader and former Minister C Vijayabaskar who presented accounts related to party finances in the meet today, which was a clear indication that OPS would be eased out.

Leaders R Vaithilingam, JCD Prabhakar, and Manoj Pandian, who are supporters of OPS, have also been expelled from the party.

The GC meet adopted resolutions for reviving the general secretary post and to ensure that a person will be elected for the post by the primary members of the party.

The party has formally resolved to hold organisational polls in 4 months to elect General Secretary.

The person who contests for the post of general secretary should have been a member of the party continously for 10 years, said party MLA RB Udhayakumar.

Meanwhile, Udhayakumar has also proposed a resolution to ratify the election of office bearers for various party posts acorss the State through organisational elections.

The party’s GC meet has also amended several bylaws, which includes fresh norms and prerequisites to fight for the top party position of General Secretary. In total, 16 resolutions were adopted.

The first resolution extended its greetings to partymen elected in the recent organisational polls for various levels.

The second resolution urged the Centre to confer ‘Bharat Ratna’ on late leaders– social justice icon Periyar E V Ramasamy, Dravidian movement’s father figure CN Annadurai, and AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa.

Incidentally, Jayalalithaa helmed the party for decades as its powerful general secretary while her close aide, VK Sasikala, was made interim general secretary for a brief period following the former’s death in December 2016.

Sasikala, who was later convicted and sentenced in a disproportionate assets case, was subsequently sacked from the post in 2017 by a then AIADMK GC.

The Madras High Court on Monday rejected a plea from AIADMK leader and former co-ordinator O Panneerselvam (OPS) to stay the conduct of the general council meeting holding that the court cannot interfere into the squabbles of a political party.

Justice Krishnan Ramaswamy delivered the verdict today morning, which allowed the EPS faction to hold the GC meet, the supreme decision making body of the main opposition party in Tamil Nadu.

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.

Meanwhile, two groups of suspected AIADMK workers clashed outside the party headquarters here, police said.

On Monday, two groups, suspected to be supporters of either leaders and carrying AIADMK flags clashed with each other, with TV visuals showing some persons hurling stones at each other and some damaging vehicles parked nearby.

Some persons reportedly sustained injuries. Few men were also seen forcing their way into the party office by breaking open the doors.