A part of Indiaonline network empowering local businesses

AIADMK power struggle: No time to celebrate as LS battle awaits party chief EPS


CHENNAI:  Edappadi K Palaniswami, who started his political career as a grassroots-level functionary of AIADMK in Koneripatti in Salem district in the mid-70s, cemented his position as the all-powerful leader of the party on Tuesday, after a roller-coaster political career spanning over four decades.  

The HC verdict has almost put a full stop to the dual leadership issue in AIADMK and came as a big relief to the party cadre who are tired of legal battles in various courts. Elevation as the general secretary will give EPS the authority to take firm decisions on elections, seat-sharing, etc., even though he has had a greater say in the past seven years after he became the chief minister of the state in 2017.

However, analysts feel that Palaniswami has to cross many more hurdles.  

“The HC verdict that made EPS AIADMK general secretary is indeed a political dividend for him. But ultimately, EPS has to face many challenges in the coming days. The Election Commission of India has to recognise his election to the top post. Only after that, his elevation could actually come into effect,” political analyst Tharasu Shyam told TNIE.

Shyam also feels that what EPS has now got is a victory through the courts. But he has to register an honourable victory in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections to prove his supremacy in the party. “For that, strengthening the party as well as forming a formidable alliance are important,” he added.

Shyam also underscored the fact that one cannot ignore that the single judge, in his order found fault with the way in which OPS was expelled from the AIADMK. This could be a shot in the arm for the OPS faction in the appeal petition. “In short, the single judge order is a mixed bag. Both sides will escalate further court battles which will work to the disadvantage of the long-term interests of the principal opposition party in the state,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, alliance parties have started recognising the elevation of EPS. Burying the recent hatchet over shifting of loyalties by some BJP functionaries to AIADMK, BJP state president K Annamalai BJP State president K Annamalai and Union Minister L Murugan called up EPS and congratulated him on his ascension.  

TMC president GK Vasan, Union Minister L Murugan, PMK president Anbumani Ramadoss, Puthiya Thamizhagam president K Krishnasamy, Kongu Nadu Makkal Desiya Katchi leader ER Eswaran, New Justice party leader AC Shanmugam, India Jananayaga Katchi founder TR Pachamuthu and Puratchi Bharatham leader M Jaganmoorthy were among those who congratulated Palaniswami.  

Senior journalist Sigamani is of the view that EPS taking over as the general secretary of AIADMK is good for Tamil Nadu politics since the state needs a strong opposition party. “Now that the infighting within AIADMK has almost come to an end, the fact is that a united AIADMK will be stronger. A stronger AIADMK will prevent BJP from emerging as a key opposition party.”

V Pughazhendi, spokesperson for the OPS faction, said the HC verdict has found fault in the way OPS was expelled and the issue would be decided while hearing the main suit. “The court did not say anything about the post of coordinator. Already, the sessions court had said that only the civil main suit would decide about the posts of coordinator and joint coordinator. As such, our counsels will put forth all these facts while the division bench hears the appeal petition on Wednesday,” he added.

Timeline of AIADMK's civil war

December 5, 2016: J Jayalalithaa passes away

December 6, 2016: OPS assumes office as chief minister, for the third time in his political career

December 29, 2016: AIADMK general council appoints V K Sasikala as general secretary

February 8, 2017:  Sasikala sacks OPS as AIADMK treasurer

February 15, 2017: Sasikala arrested

February 16, 2017: EPS assumes office as CM

August 21, 2017: OPS takes oath as the deputy chief minister as part of a merger agreement with EPS

December 6, 2021: OPS and EPS unanimously elected as coordinator and joint coordinator

June 14, 2022: EPS supporters raise the issue of unitary leadership

June 16, 2022: OPS opposes unitary leadership model

June 20, 2022: OPS writes to EPS seeking postponement of GC meeting

June 22, 2022: Madras HC allows the conduct of GC meeting

June 23, 2022: HC division bench rules that GC meeting should only hear resolutions already presented to OPS

July 6, 2022: OPS moves HC seeking stay on the GC meeting

July 11, 2022: HC gives go-ahead for GC meet; EPS elected as interim general secretary, OPS expelled for indulging in “anti-party activities”

Jul 29, 2022: SC holds that July 11 general council meeting was legal, leaves legality of the resolutions to be decided by Madras HC

Sep 3, 2022: A division bench of the Madras HC upholds EPS’ election as interim general secretary

Feb 23: HC dismisses interim applications against GC resolutions. EPS declared elected as general secretary

March 18: EPS files nomination for general secretary election. OPS files petition in HC seeking stay on polls

March 19: HC refuses to stay polls  (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)

73 Days ago