In AIADMK Leadership Tussle, the EPS team will file a counter outside the High Court today


OPS wants to continue the dual steering system, which it currently shares with EPS.


Madras High Court will continue to hear arguments today regarding the motion filed by AIADMK Coordinator O Panneerselvam (OPS) to block the party’s General Council meeting on Monday to officially crown his rival Edappadi Palaniswamy (EPS) as Acting Secretary General. After hearing arguments from the lawyer for OPS, EPS and another petitioner, the court asked the lawyer for EPS to file his counter today.

Although the Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the EPS team to proceed with the meeting according to law, the OPS team argued that the conduct of the meeting was technically illegal and therefore invalid. His lawyer claimed that according to the regulations, only the coordinator and co-coordinator can call the meeting, but in this case, the invitation letter on a “non-existent headquarters office letterhead” was not signed. In addition, in case of vacancy of the positions of coordinator and co-coordinator for any reason, the members of the office appointed by them, including the treasurer (OPS in this case), the secretary of the seat (EPS in this case) and the executive committee must continue to function, but the invitation does not mention any of these names.

Arguing firmly against the blocking of the meeting despite the green light given by the higher court, the lawyer of EPS affirmed that it is the same system which was followed by the party to appoint VK Sasikala to the post of general secretary by party interim after death of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa; also to name the duo as part of a dual leadership model later. Regarding the agenda of the meeting, he clarified that the current dual management would be abolished and an interim secretary general would be appointed, who would be in charge until the internal elections were held. The regulations will also be amended accordingly.

The June 23 meeting “rejected” the 23 draft resolutions that the leader of the OPS party had approved. One was to ratify the election of the two leaders last December and rejection meant the EPS team claimed the dual leadership was no longer there.

EPS, which is extremely confident in the near total support of the more than 2,000 general council members, wants to rise as a singular leader, OPS wants the existing dual leadership to continue.

PAHO was the choice of the late Jayalalithaa twice to be its deputy chief minister when she had to resign following convictions. He had taken over for the third time just before Jayalalithaa’s death. However, her friend Sasikala, who took over the party after Jayallithaa’s death, overthrew it and chose EPS for the chief minister’s chair before going to jail after her conviction in the disproportionate assets case in which Jayalalithaa was the main accused. In a dramatic twist, the two leaders patched each other up, kicked Sasikala out and worked out a dual leadership.

The EPS team says the model made decision-making difficult. The party had suffered three successive electoral defeats under their leadership.


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