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AIADMK leadership war: EPS takes over as general secretary, Panneerselvam expelled

The AIADMK’s (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) key General Council (GC) meeting on Monday abolished the dual leadership system and selected Edappadi K Palaniswamy as the party’s Interim General Secretary. With his action, O Pannerselvam, who was losing support within the ADMK, lost even more ground.

The AIADMK GC meeting enabled Palaniswami to drive the party as a single supreme leader in his capacity as interim General Secretary by passing 16 resolutions on the agenda. Minutes later, E Palaniswami (EPS) expelled O Paneerselvam (OPS) from primary membership of AIADMK. Apart from him, R Vaithilingam, Manoj Pandian, and JCD Prabhakaran were also expelled.

The decision comes after the Madras High Court on Monday approved a vital general council meeting to define the party’s future leadership structure. The court was hearing a petition filed by top AIADMK leader O Panneerselvam, popularly known as OPS, to stall the meeting convened by the group led by Edappady K Palaniswami, better known as EPS, from taking place. The meeting was slated to begin at 9:15 a.m., but the court issued its order at 9 am.

On Monday morning, Justice Krishnan Ramaswamy issued the ruling, allowing the EPS group to convene the GC meeting, the top decision-making body of Tamil Nadu’s biggest opposition party.

Meanwhile, outside the AIADMK party headquarters, the EPS and OPS factions threw stones at each other. OPS, whose popularity has been dwindling, arrived at the party’s headquarters on Monday with a swarm of supporters and put flower wreaths beneath sculptures of party leaders MGR and J Jayalalithaa.

The AIADMK has been embroiled in significant intra-party debate over the subject of single-leadership since last month, and Palaniswami has the support of an overwhelming majority, while Panneerselvam has been marginalised in the party. The AIADMK is anticipated to take action against Panneerselvam soon.

When Jayalalithaa was forced to step down following her conviction, she appointed OPS as her stand-in-chief minister twice. Though OPS was promoted for the third time just before her death, Jayalalithaa’s assistant VK Sasikala, who temporarily took over the party, replaced him with EPS after he revolted against her.

She named EPS as Chief Minister before going to prison in the disproportionate assets case, in which Jayalalithaa was the main culprit.

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