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Bottles hurled at OPS as AIADMK meet throws weight behind rival Edappadi

Source: PTI
Last updated on: June 23, 2022 16:42 IST
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Amid chaos, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general council meeting in Chennai on Thursday rejected all the 23 proposed resolutions and announced that the one and only demand of the GC members is to bring in a system of a single leadership for the party, favouring joint coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS).

IMAGE: A miffed AIADMK co-coordinator O Panneerselvam walks out of the party’s general council meeting, Chennai, June 23, 2022. Photograph: R Senthil Kumar/PTI Photo

When coordinator O Panneerselvam, popularly known as OPS, was about to leave the dais, a water bottle landed pretty close to him when he stood near the lectern and almost fell over his personal security officer who extended his arms around the former chief minister to protect him. A second water bottle came close to the party coordinator when he was walking down the stairs from the dais towards the exit gate.

A palpable sense of anxiety prevailed as supporters of Paneerselvam and Palaniswami engaged in rival slogan shouting and some of them loudly argued against one another and voiced their full-throated backing to their respective leaders. As OPS and EPS entered the premises of the hall -- the venue of the meeting -- their supporters raised slogans welcoming them.


Elsewhere, addressing a function, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president and Chief Minister M K Stalin made a veiled reference to the infighting in the AIADMK and said those who wanted to decimate his party have now been wiped out.

At the AIADMK meeting, when the GC members cheered and overwhelmingly favoured EPS and stuck to the single leadership chorus, OPS stood up from his seat on the dais on a cue from loyalist R Vaithilingam and started moving towards the lectern.

Taking the mike, Vaithilingam, party deputy secretary announced that the GC meet went against the law and was not valid and when he had moved just a few steps ahead, another Panneerselvam loyalist P H Manoj Pandian raised slogans favouring his leader. All along OPS was standing close to the lectern and during this time, a water bottle landed behind his back from the audience. JCD Prabhakar was among other OPS supporters who were on the dais to support their leader.

IMAGE: AIADMK co-coordinator O Panneerselvam’s supporters shout slogans as joint coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswami’s supporters hurl bottles after the former walked out of the party’s general council meeting, Chennai, June 23, 2022. Photograph: R Senthil Kumar/PTI Photo

As soon as the meet commenced amid chaotic scenes of slogan shouting, the process of taking up the agenda for the meeting and passage of already decided resolutions were taken up. The first among them, to invite interim presidium chairman, Tamilmagan Hussain, to chair the GC meet was proposed by Panneerselvam and seconded by Palaniswami, who addressed the former as 'brother' in his brief remarks.

Later, the general council formally recognised Hussain as the presidium chairman.

Soon, senior leader C Ve Shanmugam, who was recently elected to the Rajya Sabha, announced that all resolutions "are rejected by the general council." Shanmugam spoke on the need for a single leadership for the AIADMK, favouring EPS.

Deputy secretary K P Munusamy said all the GC members have rejected all the 23 proposed resolutions. "Their one and only demand is for a single leadership."

When such a resolution favouring a single leadership is taken up and passed, all other resolutions would be adopted on the same day, he added. A majority of the over 2,500 GC members have favoured EPS, Shanmugam said.

IMAGE: Edappadi K Palaniswami, AIADMK joint co-coordinator and leader of the opposition in the Tamil Nadu assembly (2nd from left), with O Panneerselvam (2nd from right) during the party’s general council meeting, Chennai, June 23, 2022. Photograph: R Senthil Kumar/PTI Photo

EPS was honoured with a decorated crown, a sword and sceptre by supporters amid chants favouring him, OPS along with his supporters including Vaithilingam moved out of the hall and left the premises. The GC meet, that witnessed chaotic scenes was over within 40 minutes after it started.

B Valarmathi, a senior office-bearer and a former minister, sang a song from party founder, the late M G Ramachandran's movie that said 'a leader will emerge', apparently hailing EPS.

The GC meet, which stuck to the one and only demand of making EPS the supreme party leader, turned out to be a full show of strength of the Palaniswami camp with OPS’s followers heavily outnumbered.

Panneerselvam was seated close to EPS on the dais when the GC burst into the single leadership chorus. Soon, Hussain announced that the next GC meet would be held on July 11 and Munusamy told reporters that EPS is all set to elected as the party's supreme, single leader (general secretary) in the next month's meeting.

Hours after the AIADMK meet, Bharatiya Janata Party state unit chief K Annamalai along with senior leader CT Ravi called on Palaniswami in Chennai to seek support for the National Democratic Alliance’s presidential nominee Droupadi Murmu. The BJP leaders also visited Panneerselvam. 

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