After Court Setback, Tamil Nadu's EPS Rejects OPS' Calls For "Unity"

Responding to OPS appeal, EPS said, "How can I work with someone who brought rowdies to the party headquarters and indulged in arson at a place regarded as a temple by the AIADMK cadre?"

After Court Setback, Tamil Nadu's EPS Rejects OPS' Calls For 'Unity'

O Panneerselvam's appeal for unity in AIADMK was rejected by his party rival E Palanisami.

Chennai:

Edappadi K Palaniswami, the AIADMK leader and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, today rejected a call by his party rival O Panneerselvam, or OPS, to work unitedly.

Mr Panneerselvam's appeal came a day after the Madras High Court ruled that the AIADMK General Council meeting that had expelled him from the party on July 11 was illegal.

The court also held the elevation of Mr Palaniswami, or EPS, as AIADMK Interim General Secretary illegal and ordered to maintain the June 23, 2022, status quo, thereby restoring the dual-leadership system in the party.

The Madras High Court ruled that the two leaders need to jointly call for a General Council meeting and if a fifth of the council members demanded a meeting, the two must convene it.

Responding to OPS appeal, EPS said, "How can I work with someone who brought rowdies to the party headquarters and indulged in arson at a place regarded as a temple by the AIADMK cadre?"

Commenting on his appeal before the Madras High Court, OPS said, "[Mr Palaniswami] only wants positions for his son. If he has an issue with singular leadership, he has to speak at the party's general council."

While OPS claims to enjoy the support of a large majority of the 2,000-plus General Council members in AIADMK, for the moment, he seems to prefer the legal route to get himself elevated in the party by convening the General Council. The Madras High Court order has handed him an advantage, but he still faces an uphill task to win the support of the majority members of the General Council that had expelled him.

A day after the favourable court order, OPS in his appeal to EPS said: "Let the bitter past be past. Let good things happen. AIADMK ought to be united. That's our stand. Let's have joint leadership." He had also extended invitations to VK Sasikala and TTV Dhinakaran to work together for the party's wellbeing.

Mr Dhinakaran, the AMMK chief and the leader who was expelled from AIADMK in 2017, has welcomed OPS's unity call, criticising EPS rejection of the same.

Though both OPS and EPS have been ministers in former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's cabinet, it was OPS whom Jayalalithaa had chosen to be the stand-in Chief Minister twice when she had to step down following convictions. Just before Jayalalithaa died, OPS was made the Chief Minister.

However, Ms Sasikala, Jayalalithaa's friend, who had taken over as the AIADMK chief after Jayalalithaa's death, sacked OPS after he reportedly rebelled against her.

EPS was Ms Sasikala's choice for Chief Minister after her own attempt to be the Chief Minister failed. Later, she was jailed, following her conviction in a disproportionate assets case. OPS and EPS later patched up, ousted Ms Sasikala from the party and worked out the dual-leadership role in AIADMK.

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