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Friday, September 22, 2023

AIADMK leadership tussle : Big victory for EPS as Madras HC sets aside Single Judge Order


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Chennai: In what is seen as a major victory for former Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) over the leadership
tussle in AIADMK with another ex-CM O.Panneerselvam (OPS), the Madras High Court on Friday set aside the Single Judge Order directing status quo ante as on June 23 favouring OPS on August 17.

In the July 11 meeting, EPS was unanimously elected as the interim General Secretary of AIADMK, thereby reverting back to the single leadership days of Party Founder MGR and J.Jayalalithaa, and OPS and his supporters were expelled from the party.

Allowing an appeal filed by EPS against the August 17 order passed by Justice G.Jayachandran nullifying the July 11 AIADMK General Council (GC) meeting convened by EPS, a Division Bench comprising Justice M Duraiswamy and Justice Sunder Mohan set aside the single judge order and declared the July 11 GC meeting as valid, thereby reverting the position of EPS as the interim general secretary of AIADMK.

With today’s orders, the July 11 GC meeting of AIADMK meeting held by the EPS camp and the decisions taken in it have become valid. Supporters of EPS celebrated the court verdict across the state by bursting crackers and distributing sweets.

Senior AIADMK leader and former Minister D.Jayakumar hailed the court order as Historic and said the expulsion of OPS from the party has been validated by the Court.

In his appeal, EPS contended that the findings of the single judge are arbitrary, illegal, and against the law. He also submitted that that the GC is the supreme body in the party and the GC meeting held on July 11 was based on the requests made by 2,190 GC members on June 23. However, counsel for OPS argued that as per the party bye-laws, the primary members have the supreme power to elect the General Secretary. He further argued that the joint consent of the coordinator and joint coordinator is mandatory for convening the GC meeting.

OPS also contended that he continues to be the Coordinator of the party and that his five-year tenure would come to an end only in December 2026, while EPS argued that both their posts lapsed on June 23.

The July 11 meeting, in which OPS and three of his supporters–two of them present MLAs–were expelled from the party, was convened after an announcement to this effect was made at the June 23 meeting in which no resolution, including the 23 pre-drafted by OPS and EPS, was adopted as per the High Court order on a plea filed by OPS. OPS and his supporters were expelled as he along with his supporters on July 11, skipped the GC meeting, stormed into the AIADMK party office in the city, broke the locks, ransacked it and forcibly took some key documents, resulting in violent clashes between the supporters
of EPS and OPS.

In that meeting EPS was unanimously elected interim General Secretary, signalling the return of the unitary leadership in the
party headed by late leaders MGR and J.Jayalalithaa, on the ground that the posts of Coordinator held by Panneerselvam
and Co-coordinator held by Palaniswami elected in December 2021 meeting on the basis of amendment made to the bylaws
through an executive council decision, ceased to exist as it was not ratified in the GC.

Even the 23 resolutions for which the court has given the nod, were rejected in the June 23 meeting by the EPS after OPS
faced a hostile reception and booed by the party workers prompting him to walk out of the meeting in a huff.

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