You are no longer AIADMK coordinator, EPS tells OPS

Updated on Jul 01, 2022 03:00 AM IST

Palaniswami further said that amendments to the party bylaw, brought in December last year, to facilitate elections to the posts of coordinator and joint coordinator was rejected by the general council on June 23 and hence they had become invalid.

The letter was in response to Panneerselvam writing to EPS on Wednesday, expressing his willingness to sign the mandatory authorisation forms for AIADMK candidates to contest in the July 9 local body bypolls for over 500 seats in the state on party’s ‘two-leaves’ symbol. (ANI)
The letter was in response to Panneerselvam writing to EPS on Wednesday, expressing his willingness to sign the mandatory authorisation forms for AIADMK candidates to contest in the July 9 local body bypolls for over 500 seats in the state on party’s ‘two-leaves’ symbol. (ANI)
By, Chennai

Breaking his silence over the power tussle within the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) that has gone on for over a fortnight, party leader Edappadi Palaniswami on Thursday wrote a letter to colleague-turned-foe O Panneerselvam asserting the latter was no longer the party coordinator.

Palaniswami further said that amendments to the party bylaw, brought in December last year, to facilitate elections to the posts of coordinator and joint coordinator was rejected by the general council on June 23 and hence they had become invalid.

“Greetings to beloved brother,” this is how Palaniswami (or EPS), in his capacity of party headquarters secretary, started his letter addressed to Panneerselvam (or OPS), party’s treasurer. The letter then goes on to blame OPS for bringing the AIADMK to a “standstill”.

Also Read | EPS camp writes to EC explaining AIADMK meetings on leadership

The letter was in response to Panneerselvam writing to EPS on Wednesday, expressing his willingness to sign the mandatory authorisation forms for AIADMK candidates to contest in the July 9 local body bypolls for over 500 seats in the state on party’s ‘two-leaves’ symbol. He requested EPS to sign Forms A and B for authorisation.

The lack of authorisation saw AIADMK cadre filing nominations as independent candidates. The last date for filing nominations ended on Monday and the last day for withdrawal on Thursday. However, the OPS camp said authorisation forms could be submitted until 3pm on Thursday.

However, EPS on Thursday termed Panneerselvam’s letter as “invalid”. “The amendments to the party’s bylaw expired. So, your letter written as party coordinator is invalid,” EPS wrote.

He further blamed OPS for making all efforts to bring the AIADMK to a “standstill” by going to the police and court to prevent the June 23 general council meeting. EPS also expressed his displeasure over OPS not attending a meeting of the party’s office bearers on June 27.

This is the latest in a series of back and forth between the two camps where a majority of the AIADMK wants to move away from the dual leadership and revert to a single leadership under EPS. The plan to coronate EPS as the single leader at the June 23 general council meeting suffered a setback after OPS approached the Madras high court and obtained a verdict in his favour in a post-midnight order just a few hours before the meeting.

EPS has also moved the Supreme Court challenging the high court’s order in favour of OPS. The party has called for a fresh general council meeting on July 11 where EPS is likely to be made AIADMK’s solitary leader.

Amidst the ongoing crisis, two senior leaders and key associates of EPS confirmed to HT earlier in the day that they would not participate in the local body by-elections. “We have made a decision to informally boycott the bypolls given the changes that we are going through,” said a leader, requesting anonymity.

A second leader said: “We have not officially selected and announced party candidates so who are we to select and give Form A and Form B to in the last minute. We are neither selecting party candidates nor announcing a boycott.”

“When Amma (former CM J Jayalalithaa) herself had announced the boycott of one of the by-elections to an assembly seat, it’s alright for us to skip this. OPS has already lost the battle so he is trying whatever he can to hold on to his power,” the second leader added, requesting anonymity.

In his letter, EPS also cited it as a reason for the party to not officially announce its candidates.

AIADMK’s deputy coordinator R Vaithilingam, who is one of a few senior leaders supporting OPS, told reporters that signatures of both EPS and OPS were required for a candidate to file nominations under the party’s symbol.

“They were elected by the primary members in December 2021 and it was informed to the Election Commission. So from the day they informed the election commission, it is only legal that they continue as coordinator and joint coordinator till their five-year tenure ends,” he said. “Some individuals may not bind to legalities but as a party we must. Those who are on the side of the cadre will want our cadre to contest under the ‘two-leaves’ symbol.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Divya Chandrababu is an award-winning political and human rights journalist based in Chennai, India. Divya is presently Assistant Editor of the Hindustan Times where she covers Tamil Nadu & Puducherry. She started her career as a broadcast journalist at NDTV-Hindu where she anchored and wrote prime time news bulletins. Later, she covered politics, development, mental health, child and disability rights for The Times of India. Divya has been a journalism fellow for several programs including the Asia Journalism Fellowship at Singapore and the KAS Media Asia- The Caravan for narrative journalism. Divya has a master's in politics and international studies from the University of Warwick, UK. As an independent journalist Divya has written for Indian and foreign publications on domestic and international affairs.

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