Even as the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s general council meeting got underway in Chennai on Monday morning, endorsing Edappadi K Palaniswami as the interim general secretary, the rival O Panneerselvam faction staged a well-planned coup at the party headquarters in Royapettah, central Chennai.
The action at the HQ started in the morning itself with EPS and OPS supporters clashing and throwing stones at each other. Then OPS’s supporters marched in with iron rods and broke open the lock on the door and entered the HQ.
In a short while OPS arrived with his supporters and took over the premises, even holding a meeting with his supporters inside.
The fact that OPS came to the HQ, and did not go to the general council meeting in Vanagaram, made it obvious that the takeover of the party headquarters was planned in advance.
The scenes were reminiscent of GK Moopanar breaking off from the parent Tamil Nadu Congress Committee to form the Tamil Maanila Congress and taking over the Congress HQ in Chennai in 1996, and going on to win the elections in the company of the DMK.
What OPS will do next remains to be seen. A little while ago he came to the balcony on the first floor of the HQ and waved to his supporters.
Will EPS and his supporters proceed to the HQ from Vanagaram or will they follow the legal course get the premises back? That is the question on everyone’s mind.
Meanwhile, OPS’s supporters are displaying his portrait and Jayalalitha’s banner from the first floor of the HQ.