Palaniswami to get ultimate elevation; OPS will rise again, say supporters

K Palaniswami cleared what seems to be the final legal hurdle towards his elevation to the powerful General Secretary post of the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu

Press Trust of India Chennai


K Palaniswami on Thursday cleared what seems to be the final legal hurdle towards his elevation to the powerful General Secretary post of the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, winning another bout of fight with his now beleaugered rival O Panneerselvam after the Supreme Court greenflagged his continuation as the interim chief of the opposition party.

It is now a only matter of time before the 68 year-old leader is formally elected general secretay, a post last occupied by the late J Jayalalithaa and the formalities for this would be soon discussed and decided upon by the senior AIADMK functionaries.

Palaniswami said "dharma, justice and truth" have won following the SC ruling today.

On the other side, the apex court verdict cast a shadow on the political future of Panneerselvam, but his supporters are confident he will raise like a 'phoenix,' the mythical bird that rose from the ashes, although almost the entire AIADMK rank and file now seems to rally behind EPS, as Palaniswami is known.

The apex court ruling was a result of the 'divinity' of party stalwarts, the late Chief Ministers M G Ramachandran (MGR) and J Jayalalithaa, Palaniswami said at a mass wedding ceremony in Madurai.

AIADMK's win in the legal battle was due to the 'blessings' and 'grace' of MGR and Jayalalithaa, even as he prayed to them for a favourable verdict while garlanding their statues at a shrine constructed by a senior party functionary in the temple town, Palaniswami said.

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He described the SC verdict as "great" and "historic" and indicated that he or his party had nothing to do with Panneerselvam anymore.

"The temple is one with devotion. Both leaders blessed us and within minutes there was a fantastic news (the SC verdict).. it was due to the blessings of powerful leaders (who are like) gods," Palaniswami said.

In a veiled attack at Panneerselvam, a grinning Palaniswami said "some Ettappars (a Tamil reference to betrayers) who worked as DMK's B-team and wanted to finish off the AIADMK have been unmasked today.

Many said AIADMK has no future (in the wake of the 2021 electoral defeat and in-party squabbles), and all that has ended with verdicts by the Supreme Court and the High Court," he said.

The top court earlier in the day upheld the order of the Madras High Court which allowed Palaniswami to continue as the interim general secretary of the AIADMK, founded by the late chief minister Ramachandran. It dismissed the petitions filed by Panneerselvam.

The judgement came on a batch of pleas concerning amendments made to the party bylaws during the July 11, 2022 general council meeting.

The AIADMK is no more "three or four," but was one united entity, Palaniswami said, even as he exuded confidence of the party winning the February 27 Erode East bypoll, the first such electoral excercise after the DMK came to power in 2021.

Targeting his party's archrival, the M K Stalin-led DMK, Palaniswami said "when MGR founded AIADMK, he said it is being done to destroy the evil force called DMK and he was steadfast in opposing it till his last breath.

Amma (Jayalalithaa) tolerated all the challenges and travails, walked the path of MGR and kept the evil force under control during her regime. She once said in the state Assembly that AIADMK will continue to live for 100 years after her. That has happened today," he added.

"The AIADMK works for people, not for a family.. this is not a family party but a movement working for people. Madurai soil always brings good news for AIADMK. Nobody can even dare touch his party," the former CM said.

He said he spent a "sleepless night" ahead of today's court ruling but was visibly relieved over the outcome of the case.

When reporters asked about OPS side planning to appeal against today's order, Palaniswami indicated it was not possible.

Over the past few days, the AIADMK had received some good news, he said. While former BJP leader CP Radhakrishnan was made Jharkhand governor within days after attending a meeting to introduce AIADMK candidate for the February 27 Erode East bypoll, today his party secured a favourable verdict in the SC on the leadership issue. The next will be the party's win in Erode East, he insisted.

AIADMK and the BJP are part of the NDA coalition.

He said a perception was being made out that the AIADMK was weak, which was not the case.

As regards the other camp, Panneerselvam's house wore a deserted look, leaving the leader too dazed to publicly react to the court's ruling and contrastingly the AIADMK workers at party headquarters here and other parts in the State were on cloud nine celebrating the verdict.

A senior functionary who is a supporter of Panneerselvam says "a new political chapter begins for him. Panneerselvam will rise again and get back the position in the party, as party founder M G Ramachandran had proved his capabilities when he was expelled from the DMK." OPS would approach the people's court and win back political recognition, he added.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Feb 23 2023 | 6:28 PM IST

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