The chorus for a single leadership grew even louder in the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) general council meeting held on June 23. At present, a shoddy twin leadership exists in the party shared between the joint coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) and coordinator O Panneerselvam (OPS).
Along with the cries for unitary leadership, the wind swayed strongly towards EPS. He has the support of 61 out of the 66 AIADMK MLAs and 68 out of the 75 district secretaries.
On the other hand, OPS wants the existing dual leadership arrangement to continue.
The Madras High Court came for Panneerselvam’s rescue in the wee hours on the day of the party meeting on Thursday. The bench restrained the party from making any resolutions other than the 23 resolutions already approved.
The court observed that it was important for the members to be informed about what was going on, and no resolutions could be passed without such an agenda. Just the day before, Justice Krishnan Ramasamy had refused to restrain the party from amending its bylaws stating “the courts cannot interfere in the internal affairs of a party/association.”
Journalist Savukku Shankar in an interview for RedPix, asked, “What is the need for the court to take up this case in the late hours of the night? If the judges start commanding what decisions should be taken in a general body or executive committee meetings, it is a dangerous trend.”
The 23 resolutions scheduled to be discussed during the general council meeting were rejected by the members. Steering committee member C Ve Shanmugam said, “When the resolution favouring single leadership is adopted and passed, all other resolutions would be adopted.”
Shanmugam submitted a petition signed by 2,190 council members to the newly elected praesidium chairman Tamilmagan Hussain seeking discussion over the issues caused by the dual leadership controversy. He added that the party has “faced setbacks, embarrassment and administrative difficulties due to the dual leadership” and that “the party is unable to function as the primary opposition in the state.”
Notably, while AIADMK was busy with the leadership tussle and trying to keep the party alive, BJP has been claiming that they are doing the job of the opposition in the state.
The presiding chairman received the petition and announced the general council would next meet on July 11, when the 23 pending resolutions and a decision of the single leadership would be taken up.
OPS walked out soon after the date for the next meeting was announced amidst cries from members urging him to not stand in the way of EPS’ leadership.
Shankar said, “OPS has no other option but to take some position given by EPS and back off at the moment.” Many senior party leaders have come out openly against OPS as being selfish and going against the collective interest of the party.
As per the amended bylaws of AIADMK, both the coordinator and co-coordinator’s approval are required to pass party decisions. Thereby, if a decision regarding single leadership is made, it would require OPS’ signature. Moreover, OPS is also the joint custodian of the two leaves symbol.
However, the two posts were passed by the general council of the party, and the council has the power to go back on its resolutions.