Chennai: Neither a wee-hour judicial order nor a walkout by the O Panneerselvam faction could stop the Edappadi K Palaniswami brigade from bulldozing its way towards its single-leadership agenda at the AIADMK general council meeting on Thursday. EPS has not yet been coronated, but the message to PAHO was clear: You’ve just delayed the inevitable.
Restrained by the Madras high court from passing any resolution to amend the party bylaws, EPS supporter C Ve Shanmugam read out a letter signed by 2,190 members of the general council demanding single leadership. When the newly appointed presidium chairman A Tamil Mahan Hussain announced that the party would convene another meeting of the general council on July 11, there was thunderous applause.
EPS supporters booed at OPS throughout the 45-minute session, and the former chief minister, along with supporters including deputy coordinator Vathilingam walked out in protest. Some of the delegates threw water bottles that landed close to OPS as he was walking out of the podium without presenting the annual accounts. Though 23 non-contentious resolutions were on the agenda, the meeting did not take up any of them. And OPS, who is also the treasurer, did not present the annual accounts.
In the letter, members said the party suffered setbacks, difficulties and administrative issues under the dual leadership; it also highlighted the party’s inability to oppose the DMK and the government.” It has disappointed and shocked the cadres, functionaries and the people. The cadres are also tired of the dual leadership’s contradictory, unclear and non-cooperative functioning. If the party has to work for people for more than 100 years as envisioned by Amma (J Jayalalithaa), there is a need for a strong, brave and clear single leader like that of Puratchi Thalaivar MGR and Puratchi Thalaivi Amma,” said Shanmugam, who presented the letter to Hussain in the presence of Panneerselvam and Palaniswami on the dais.
Earlier, high drama prevailed in the hall when an announcement was made about tabling of 23 resolutions which senior leaders C Ponnaiyan and Dindigul C Sreenivasan were to propose and second. At this point, Shanmugam took the microphone and screamed thrice: “All the resolutions have been rejected by the members.” Party deputy coordinator KP Munusamy said the only demand of the members was to establish single leadership. “All resolutions will be adopted along with the resolution for single leadership when the next general council meets,” he said amid loud claps.
Soon after the start of the session, OPS and EPS proposed and seconded a resolution endorsing the interim presidium chairman to preside over the mandatory event. Palaniswami made the announcement of unanimous election of Hussain as presidium chairman by the general council and executive committee, which was proposed by seconded by Dindigul C Sreenivasan and D Jayakumar.
Later at OPS’s residence, R Vaithilingam told reporters that the opponents were power hungry. “It was not held in a democratic manner,” he said. “It was a half-an-hour drama…uncontrolled and barbaric.” He said the rejection of 23 resolutions was wrong since the court had permitted the passage of the same. The election of the presidium chairman was invalid since it was not jointly announced by the coordinator and the joint coordinator. Only the dual leadership was vested with powers to agree to a general council meeting. Vaithilingam said OPS was ready for talks and his opinion of him was to have dual leadership to help the party return to power.