The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s dominant Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) camp on Monday slammed rival leader O Panneerselvam (OPS) as a symbol of 'betrayal' and said the upcoming general council meet shall decide whether OPS would continue as party treasurer or not.
While OPS said the meeting was not valid and its decisions are not binding on functionaries and cadres since he, the coordinator, has not convened it along with co-coordinator Palaniswami as per by-laws, the EPS camp countered it, saying the meet is legitimate, a pointer to continuing bickering in Tamil Nadu's principal opposition party over who should steer the party.
Asked why Panneerselvam's name was removed from the founders' column on the masthead of party mouthpiece (Tamil daily Namadhu Amma), senior leader D Jayakumar hit out at OPS saying he is a 'symbol of betrayal.'
“Panneerselvam betrayed the party's interests,” he alleged.
“That is why his name is not featured in Namadhu Amma,” Jayakumar, a former minister and the party's organisation secretary told reporters.
Briefing reporters on deliberations in Monday’s top office-bearers meet, he said Panneerselvam's son and Theni MP Ravindhranath had lauded Chief Minister M K Stalin.
Ravindhranath had said that Stalin worked with dedication, Jayakumar said, and asked if AIADMK workers would accept such remarks. "There are more examples," he said to support his arguments against OPS.
Asked if OPS would continue to be the party's treasurer, he said only the July 11 general council could provide the answer. "Whether or not he will continue as treasurer will be decided by the GC."
The meeting deliberated and has taken key decisions vis-a-vis the GC and such decisions are “strictly confidential”, Jayakumar said amid speculations that OPS may be relieved of his post of party treasurer.
On the validity of the meet and OPS's remark in this regard, Jayakumar said that the meet was convened by presidium chairman Tamilmagan Hussain based on the request of state-level office-bearers to headquarters secretary Palaniswami. The meet was in conformity with party by-laws, he said.
Out of the 74 top functionaries as many as 65 office-bearers took part, Jayakumar said. The meet that was held at party headquarters in Chennai was chaired by Hussain, EPS and senior leader K P Munusamy.
Of the nine functionaries who could not participate, four of them have conveyed to the party brass their inability to take part in the meeting as they were ill.
As the posts of coordinator (OPS), joint coordinator (EPS) and deputy secretaries (R Vaithilingam and K P Munsamy) have now become defunct, he said the request to conduct the meeting was conveyed to headquarters secretary EPS.
On a party worker cutting and removing OPS's image from a huge party hoarding within the premises of the party headquarters while the meeting was on, the former minister said that the flex board was being replaced.