Senior AIADMK leaders revive 'single-leadership'crisis at party meet

Though the demand for single leadership has been raised many times in recent years, it was resolved and both leaders had said the dual leadership arrangement would continue.

Published: 15th June 2022 03:05 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th June 2022 03:05 AM   |  A+A-

Edappadi K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam released the manifesto which has 163 promises, at the party headquarters. (Photo | Ashwin Prasath, EPS)

Edappadi K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam. (Photo | Ashwin Prasath, EPS)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Nearly five years after accepting dual leadership to keep VK Sasikala and her clan out, a crisis seems to be brewing in Tamil Nadu's principal opposition party, AIADMK. At a party meeting here on Tuesday, a majority of senior office-bearers, who support joint coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswami, proposed single leadership.

Political analysts are of the view that the party may face yet another split as coordinator O Panneerselvam will not agree to part with the leadership. Senior functionaries, however, stoutly denied the possibility saying the party would remain united.

Though the demand for single leadership has been raised many times in recent years, it was resolved and both leaders had said the dual leadership arrangement would continue.

OPS meets supporters to decide next steps

While the senior party brass that voiced support for single leadership included several former ministers, district secretaries, and headquarters office-bearers, two MLAs, including Manoj Pandian, and steering committee member JCD Prabhakar objected to it and said the present setup should continue and issues can be resolved through talks.

Sources said that though most of those who batted for single leadership did not name their choice for the leadership, a few seniors openly voiced their support for Palaniswami and listed out reasons like his efficient handling of government for a full term for their decision.

"A former minister from Tiruvallur district started the debate on single leadership after which several others spoke in support of it. Opposing the proposal, with pain, I said the party is heading towards a perilous situation," a senior functionary told The New Indian Express.

Another senior functionary said, "Panneerselvam was indeed shocked at the sudden development and kept quiet when a host of functionaries raised the proposal. The meeting was primarily convened to tell office-bearers that special invitees cannot be allowed for the ensuing general council meeting as it takes place after the election of new office-bearers across the State, and the proceedings of the meeting should be submitted to the EC. Even during his address, Panneerselvam did not respond to the proposal. Palaniswami, too, did not speak about it."

A former MP, who is currently a district secretary of the party, told The New Indian Express, "No other party in India has dual leadership. A few years ago, due to certain situations, we thought dual leadership would help resolve the issues at that time. Now, the entire party feels that only a single leadership can protect party."

Incidentally, the leadership demand comes three days after Panneerselvam issued a detailed statement contending that the AIADMK has been functioning as an efficient opposition party.

After the four-hour meeting on Tuesday, Panneerselvam went into a huddle with his supporters - party deputy coordinator R Vaithilingam, JCD Prabhakar, and former ministers RB Udhayakumar and R Kamaraj - about the next course of action.

According to political analyst Tharasu Shyam, the AIADMK is heading towards a split since Panneerselvam would not agree to give up his rights over deciding party affairs. "There is a possibility of parallel general council meetings if the problem remains unresolved," Shyam said.

When asked what forced the party to discuss leadership now, D Jayakumar said, "Situations keep changing and most of the office-bearers think unitary leadership will do good for the party."

'In due course'

AIADMK spokesperson D Jayakumar admitted that majority of the top brass spoke in support of a single leadership. The party, in due course, will choose who could be that be

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