'OPS is the first person in history to ransack his own party office.'
July 11, 2022, saw activity on a scale never seen before at the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam headquarters in Royapettah, central Chennai.
While former chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) was attending the AIADMK general council meeting in one part of Chennai, his rival O Panneerselvam (OPS), also a former chief minister, along with his supporters moved into the party headquarters after breaking open the locks and occupied it for a couple of hours, even holding a meeting there.
Outside the hq, rival factions clashed, stones were hurled, vehicles were damaged and the police was called to restore law and order.
Soon the state revenue department officials moved in, asking OPS and his supporters to leave, and sealed the premises.
Rubbing salt into OPS's wounds, the general council meeting also expelled him from the AIADMK, and elevated EPS as interim general secretary.
Reacting to the tumultuous developments, AIADMK Spokesperson Kovai Satyan tells A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com, "In the entire general council, there was not one supporter to say that OPS should not be expelled from the party. Out of our 75 party districts, 73 supported his ouster."
Did you expect OPS to barge into the party headquarters like he did?
Absolutely not. But we had clues that his supporters would come and gherao the party office. We didn't expect OPS to lead them.
Our former minister D Jayakumar had given a written request asking for police protection for our party premises. But they did not do anything.
If the police had acted on our request, then this would not have happened. Our party office was ransacked and also public property was damaged outside the office.
He (OPS) has taken lots of files from the office. What example is he setting?
What has he achieved by his actions?
He is the first person in history to ransack his own party office.
This is the third time he has fallen flat with the judiciary. A single judge refused to stop the first general council meeting. A bench allowed the meeting, but with the condition that only the 23 items already on the agenda should be taken up.
Then the Supreme Court refused to stall the second general council meeting and the high court followed suit.
When he lost in court, he is showing his muscle by ransacking the party office.
What little respect and sympathy he had, he lost with his actions this morning.
We are celebrating our party's golden jubilee this year and he has got the party office sealed.
From being a three-time chief minister to being expelled from the party, what did OPS do to reach this stage?
He did not do anything, that is why he is in this current stage.
In the entire general council there was not one supporter to say that OPS should not be expelled from the party.
Out of our 75 party districts, 73 supported his ouster.
He could have induced confidence in the cadres, instead he is standing alone as an orphan.
How is your party going to retrieve the party headquarters which has now been sealed?
It will be retrieved through the legal process. We are in public life groomed by Amma, we will not stoop to goondaism.
Dindigul Sreenivasan is your new party treasurer, the post held by OPS. How are you going to get OPS to hand over the accounts?
C Vijayabaskar (former health minister) tabled some accounts today. OPS was in charge, but he didn't maintain the actual accounts. The head office staff does that.
What about all the cases in court and his petition to the Election Commission of India?
EPS has replied to his petition to the Election Commission. The resolution to have a single leader was supported by 99% of the members of the general council. This resolution has been given to the Election Commission.
Now OPS has no supporters, he knows that and so he is cooking up stories for the judiciary.
Will OPS supporters be allowed to participate in your organisational elections which are to be held in four months? You have expelled only four leaders and not any cadre.
Cadre will be expelled if they indulge in anti-party activities. The election is only for the post of general secretary.
OPS cannot contest as he has been expelled from the party.
What are the options that OPS has? Going to the cadre, going to V K Sasikala, going to the Bharatiya Janata Party?
Wherever he goes, he will be seen as someone with zero credibility.
What is the most important thing that EPS has to do?
He has been groomed from the bottom of the cadre base. He has been in the party since 1974, for 48 years. After the general secretary elections he can take charge of the party and take it ahead.
All activities were stalled with dual leadership. Now decisions will be made quickly for the betterment of the party.