Tamil Nadu: AIADMK appoints EPS party leader; OPS expelled

Soon after being expelled, OPS said: “EPS cannot oust me from the party because I was selected by its 1.5 crore cadres."

ByUmar Sharieef

Published Jul 11, 2022 | 12:58 PMUpdatedJul 25, 2022 | 11:24 AM

AIADMK general council meeting

The AIADMK general council on Monday, 11 July, appointed Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) as the party’s interim general secretary and expelled O Pannerselvam (OPS) and three of his loyalists.

Soon after being expelled from the party, OPS said, “EPS cannot oust me from the party because I was selected by its 1.5 crore cadres. I will seek justice from them.”

The general council meeting of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) was held after Madras High Court earlier in the day rejected a plea from the former AIADMK leader and coordinator OPS to stay halt the general council meeting.

The bench stated that the court cannot interfere in the squabbles of a political party.

AIADMK ex-general secretary Sasikala, however, said that Palaniswami’s appointment as AIADMK general

The expulsion of OPS

Soon after the general council meeting ousted OPS and his three loyalists — R Vaithilingam, JCD Prabhakar, and Manoj Pandian — his supporters pelted stoned at the AIADMK office.

Security forces rushed to AIADMK headquarters to seal the premises after a clash between OPS and EPS supporters broke.

AIADMK senior leader Natham Viswanathan, at the meeting, accused OPS of having a “brutal face” that is completely opposite to his “calm person” reputation.

Quoting the verses of 19th-century reformist saint Vallalar, Viswanathan said, “There should be no link with OPS. He said one thing and did just the opposite.”

Another senior leader, KP Munusamy, said at the meeting, “Members of the council represent 1.5 crore party members. The matter will be taken to the interim general secretary.”

Meanwhile, at the meeting, the AIADMK also passed a resolution to urge the Union government to award the Bharat Ratna — India’s highest civilian honour — to J Jayalalithaa, Periyar, and MG Ramachandran.

Demand for single leadership

The tussle to lead the AIADMK has been going on since Tamil Nadu’s former Jayalalitha’s death in 2016.

To keep the party together in 2017, OPS was appointed as the party coordinator and EPS the co-coordinator.

(With agency inputs)