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Edappadi Palaniswami elected AIADMK interim general secretary after the Madras High Court refuses to interfere in ‘internal affairs’ of the party; O. Panneerselvam and supporters forcefully occupy party headquarters

Print edition : Aug 25, 2022 T+T-

Edappadi Palaniswami elected AIADMK interim general secretary after the Madras High Court refuses to interfere in ‘internal affairs’ of the party; O. Panneerselvam and supporters forcefully occupy party headquarters

At the AIADMK general council meeting presided over by Edappadi K. Palaniswami at the party headquarters in Chennai on July 11. Twitter image posted by @KovaiSathyan

At the AIADMK general council meeting presided over by Edappadi K. Palaniswami at the party headquarters in Chennai on July 11. Twitter image posted by @KovaiSathyan | Photo Credit: PTI

The tussle between former All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) Chief Ministers Edappadi K. Palaniswami (EPS) and O. Pannerselvam (OPS) reached a point of no return on July 11 after EPS was elected the interim general secretary of the party at a specially convened general council meeting. On his part, OPS, who mustered his supporters at the AIADMK headquarters in Chennai, forcefully occupied the office after evicting the supporters of EPS.

This upheaval in the party comes about five and a half years after the death of former Chief Minister and party supremo Jayalalithaa. The AIADMK witnessed a similar churning after the death of its founder M.G. Ramachandran.

The general council meeting was facilitated by a ruling of the Madras High Court, which, after reserving judgment last week, allowed the meeting to go ahead at around 9.10 a.m. OPS, who forced his way into the party headquarters after pitched battles between his supporters and that of EPS, was aided by the fact that there was no visible police presence in the locality. The nearest police station, housing senior officials, is located about 200 metres from the party office. There are multiple CCTVs along the stretch. Despite this and the gathering crowd, the police arrived on the scene after about 40 minutes, allowing OPS supporters to occupy the party headquarters.

The Madras High Court’s single judge order said that the if any person had a problem with the conduct of the general council meeting, he could file a civil suit. The judge held that the will of the majority should prevail and that courts should not interfere with this. The judge pointed out in his ruling: “In matters of internal affairs of party/association, the courts normally do not interfere, leaving it open to the party/association and its members to frame a particular by-law, rule or regulation which may provide a better management of the party/association and solution for sorting out any issues and/or providing restrictions.”

With this problem out of the way, senior party leader R.B. Udayakumar said that the election for the post of AIADMK general secretary, to be elected by the party cadre, will be held within four months.

Another resolution did away with the dual leadership in the party, effectively taking OPS out of the party high command. The general council also scrapped the post of ‘permanent general secretary’, a post created for the late Jayalalithaa.