AIADMK Gears Up for ‘EPS vs OPS’ Battle as Madras HC Set to Deliver Verdict on Plea Against Crucial Party Meet

The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s (AIADMK) General Council (GC) meet is set to take place today to decide the future leadership structure of the party. While O Panneerselvam was twice handpicked by late supremo J Jayalalithaa to be her stand-in-chief minister and is now facing waning support, Edappadi K Palaniswami has gained overwhelming popularity among party workers.

The Madras High Court is set to pronounce its verdict on Monday morning on a plea against conducting the meeting, even as all arrangements are in place to hold the meet on the premises of a marriage hall on the city’s outskirts. Justice Krishnan Ramaswamy reserved the orders, to be delivered around 9 a.m. on Monday and the GC meet is expected to commence at 9.15 a.m.

The GC meeting may take steps to remove Panneerselvam as treasurer as he has “failed” in discharging his duties. It is being said that Panneerselvam is likely to skip the meeting and is holding discussions with his supporters at his Greenways Road residence.

With the OPS camp stoutly opposing the meeting to pick Palaniswami as the top leader, the party has installed entry control equipment like flap barriers and turnstile to allow only authorised functionaries with access cards, seen as a first in Tamil Nadu by any political party.

A large open area on the premises has been tin-roofed to host the event and accommodate about 3,000 functionaries. A grand dais, about 80 ft in length and 40 ft in breadth, is set to accommodate senior leaders.

The entire premise is decked up with portraits of party icons, M G Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa while Palaniswami’s picture is carefully interspersed. The entire locality wore a festive look and Palaniswami is set to be given a grand reception on his arrival for the meeting.

EPS supporters and party leaders, including P Thangamani and R B Udhayakumar, on Sunday reviewed the arrangements being made to host the event. While Palaniswami’s side said the support from GC members has increased to 2,455, Panneerselvam faction said that OPS had the support of 1.5 crore party members.

The party has about 2,650 GC members Party functionaries vied with one another in placing advertisements in party organ ‘Namadhu Amma’ to support EPS and the party’s Tamil daily was full of promotion material hailing Palaniswami as the party’s dawn and future.

AIADMK sources told PTI that Panneerselvam, the party treasurer, has the option of only boycotting the meeting. On June 23, when the GC met, chaotic scenes were witnessed and a sidelined OPS was prompted to walk away with his supporters after making known his opposition to Palaniswami camp.

Since last month, the AIADMK has been witnessing serious intra-party wrangling over the issue of single-leadership and Palaniswami has the support of an overwhelming majority and Panneerselvam has been sidelined in the party. It is expected that the AIADMK may soon act against Panneerselvam.

The Madras High Court said on Friday that it would pass order on July 11, by 9 AM, on a plea against holding the General Council meeting. The meet was originally scheduled to be held on July 11 and it was slated to commence in the morning, that day. Now the fate of the meeting hinges on the court verdict. Panneerselvam is against the meeting and Palaniswami, who is expected to be elected the supreme leader in the GC meeting, is for it.

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