EPS Runs AIADMK as Fight with OPS Continues in Court
Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS) and O Panneerselvam. Image Courtesy: PTi
The Madras High Court (HC) delivered a favourable order for the Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS)-led AIADMK on November 7 by ordering ousted party leader and former Tamil Nadu chief minister (CM) O Panneerselvam (OPS) to not use the party flag, name and symbol.
Subsequently, OPS raised contentions before the court saying he cannot be restrained from using the party flag, symbol and letterhead when a civil suit filed by him challenging his expulsion is pending in the HC. The appeal will be heard on Wednesday.
OPS was removed from the AIADMK’s primary membership through a resolution passed in the party’s general body meeting in June 2022. But he claimed that he and his supporters were the ‘real AIADMK’ and the true followers of former leader and CM J Jayalalithaa. The recent court order has paused his claim.
Following the court order, OPS and most of his supporters turned up in dhotis without the customary black, white and red border, symbolising the AIADMK. The AIADMK flag no longer flutters on his car’s bonnet though he has retained Jayalalithaa’s image on the dashboard.
The injunction restraining him from using the party name and symbol and valid till November 30, was ordered because EPS’s counsel argued that OPS’s claims and his act of using the party letterhead, flag and symbol were creating confusion among people at a time when the Lok Sabha election is around six months away.
Meanwhile, the Court on November 6 reserved order on an appeal suit filed by Jayalalithaa’s aide VK Sasikala against the refusal by an additional city civil court to declare, illegal and void a resolution passed by the AIADMK general council that removed her as the interim general secretary in September 2017.
DEPUTY LEADER OF OPPOSITON NOT RECOGNISED
OPS was the deputy Opposition leader when he was ousted from the AIADMK. The AIADMK convened a meeting in July 2022 and elected RB Udhayakumar as deputy Opposition leader and Agri Krishnamurthy as deputy secretary of the party in the House.
AIADMK general secretary EPS moved the court seeking to direct the Assembly Speaker and secretary to recognise Udhayakumar as the deputy Opposition leader. On November 10, the court ordered the Speaker and the secretary to respond to the plea by December 12.
Despite his ouster from the AIADMK, OPS has retained his seat next to EPS in the Assembly for nearly one-and-a-half years.
AIADMK legislators were removed from the Assembly in October this year after they shouted slogans against Speaker M Appavu for not recognising Udhayakumar as the deputy Opposition leader.
AIADMK BEGINS ELECTION PREPARATION
AIADMK has started preparation for the parliamentary election. The party’s IT unit sent out a message to its booth committee agents on Monday to target non-partisan people and voters in the 18-30 age group.
Since booth agents are the face of the party in local areas, they were asked to avoid smoking cigarettes, consuming alcohol and using obscene words. “If you follow these instructions, you are Prashant Kishore for AIADMK,” the message read.
AIADMK YOUTH MOVING TO BJP?
The AIADMK faces another problem. Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi chief Thol. Thirumavalavan claimed on November 8 that AIADMK members, particularly the youth, are eagerly participating in the Enn Mann, En Makkal (My Land, My People) yatra, undertaken by BJP state President K Annamalai.
The issue is likely to figure in meeting of AIADMK district secretaries and party-in-charges at Puratchi Thalaivar MGR Maligai on November 21.
In September, the AIADMK split from the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) stating that a BJP leader—without naming Annamalai—was shaming AIADMK ideologues.
Meanwhile, the AIADMK has raised certain public issues such as demanding the closure of Solara Active Pharma Sciences Limited, Kalapet, for “lapses”, resulting in injuries to 14 workers in the fire.
EPS demanded a 20% increase in bonus and ex-gratia payable to employees of cooperative institutions. The government announced 10% bonus to institutions under the Payment of Bonus Act.
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