Palaniswami elected as interim general secretary of AIADMK, calls OPS 'selfish'

Palaniswami launched a blazing attack on OPS and alleged that he orchestrated the attack on the AIADMK headquarters here in collusion with the ruling DMK, which dismissed the charges

K Palaniswami (File)
K Palaniswami (File)
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PTI

AIADMK leader K Palaniswami was on Monday elected as the party's interim General Secretary and vested with full powers to helm the organisation, while rival leader O Panneerselvam (OPS) was squeezed out along with his key supporters.

The 68 year-old Palaniswami launched a blazing attack on OPS, calling him 'selfish' and alleged that the former party Coordinator orchestrated the attack on the AIADMK headquarters here in collusion with the ruling DMK.

The DMK dismissed the charges, saying it had nothing to with the affairs of the opposition party.

In its Executive Committee and General Council meeting held here, the AIADMK endorsed scrapping the erstwhile top two positions of Coordinator and Joint Coordinator held by OPS and Palaniswami (EPS), respectively.

The party has also formally resolved to hold organisational polls in 4 months to elect General Secretary. It has amended several bylaws, which includes fresh norms and prerequisites to fight for the top party position of General Secretary.

In total, 16 resolutions were adopted. Panneerselvam was replaced by senior leader Dindigul C Sreenivasan as treasurer.

Incidentally, Jayalalithaa helmed the party for decades as its powerful general secretary while her close aide, VK Sasikala, was made interim general secretary for a brief period following the former's death in December 2016.

Sasikala, who was later convicted and sentenced in a disproportionate assets case, was subsequently sacked from the post in 2017 by a then AIADMK GC.

In his speech at the party meet, Palaniswami said the unitary leadership was in response to the will of the party workers and people even as "we were pushed to protect" AIADMK with such a step.

He claimed senior leaders met OPS many times during the early stages of the issue and he was told "any one could come to the top post and the unitary leadership is required."

"That is the desire of people, workers and (they) asked his consent. I know how much we suffered due to dual leadership.. only if we work in lines with people's desire can we return to power. Talks were held with him (Panneerselvam) on many occasions," he said.

Panneerselvam also had ties with the DMK, Palaniswami charged.

Later, speaking to reporters, he said OPS was a "selfish" man.

Referring to the violence at the party headquarters that left many including some policemen injured, the former Chief Minister claimed Panneerselvam orchestrated the attack in collusion with the DMK.

"Former coordinator (OPS) who had ties with (the DMK) jointly orchestrated the attack and this is strongly condemnable. I have said law and order in the state has deteriorated and it is proved today. If this is the situation of AIADMK, which ruled the state for 31 years, what about the common man," he said after visiting the injured party supporters at a government hospital here.

The violence was hatched by the DMK in collusion with "betrayers to finish off AIADMK," and the ruling party and "betrayer OPS" are responsible for the violence, he charged.

Panneerselvam "has never done anything good for anyone.. he is selfish...does not want anyone to get something that he did not get," EPS alleged.

He said "rowdies" brought at the behest of OPS targeted party workers with stones and asked if anyone would do so. The expelled leader took away "party records" from the office with police protection and asked if the AIADMK headquarters was his property.

On the government sealing the AIADMK hq, the Leader of Opposition said the party would move the court on the matter and AIADMK would come back with a renewed vigour.

Responding to the developments, senior DMK leader RS Bharathi dismissed Palaniswami's allegations against his party and insisted it had nothing do with the AIADMK's squabbles.

He also dismissed Palaniswami's allegation of police inaction, saying the force acted promptly and all steps were taken to uphold law and order.

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