The battle for the beleaguered Tamil Nadu opposition party AIADMK has taken a dramatic turn after the Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered a stay on the Madras High Court’s ruling disallowing any unannounced resolutions on the matter of single leadership from being passed at the party’s general and executive councils.
The top court’s stay order has given further legitimacy to the Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) group’s pitch for a single leadership within the party, with EPS being favoured over O Panneerselvam (OPS). The demand for a single leadership within the party has grown stronger ever since the general secretary post was done away with following the death of AIADMK supremo and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha.
After the SC order stated that the party’s General Council’s meet, scheduled for July 11, may go ahead as per law, EPS is well on course to get elected as the singular head of the party. In the last General Council elections, as many as 2,190 GC members out of 2,665 backed a meeting to elect a single leader from the party. While rejecting all the 23 resolutions in the last GC meet, the GC members demanded the resolution for single leadership to be adopted.
In a last-ditch attempt, the AIADMK coordinator OPS moved High Court in a bid to delay the proceedings of the July 11 GC meet. The HC heard the case at the judge’s house on June 23 midnight and passed its orders at 4 am. The SC observed that the HC, in passing a stay order on the party’s GC meeting, had exceeded its jurisdiction.
Earlier, Panneerselvan had written to Joint Coordinator Palaniswami asking the latter to postpone the meet. On the matter of a unitary leadership, Palaniswami has received strong backing from most of the district secretaries so far. The June 23 meeting saw OPS being jeered out as EPS was honoured with a crown and sword. The GC stated that their only demand was for a single leadership to exist within the party in order to strengthen itself against the ruling DMK.
The party has come under heavy criticism from late Jayalaithaa’s close aide VK Sasikala as she believed that the internal squabbles have reduced the stature of the party and made it look weak in front of the DMK. AIADMK ally BJP has been in a wait and watch mode so far. According to reports, even after PM Narendra Modi’s effort to put a halt to the language row, many members within the party have already opposed their existing alliance with the ruling party at the Centre.
Many AIADMK members feel that OPS’s image has been severely dented within his own party, and it is a matter of time before EPS will be declared as the party’s leader.