Expelled leader O Panneerselvam (OPS) pledged to recover the AIADMK on Monday, proclaiming his “second dharmayudham” (war of honour) with the party’s interim general secretary Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS) in the wake of the failure of all unification initiatives.
OPS stated at a meeting of his faction’s district secretaries in Chennai that the candidate put out by EPS is not performing well in the Erode East by-election. “I do not wish to comment on how the campaign is proceeding. On (March 2), when the votes are counted, everyone will be informed. “Till then, we will be patient,” he remarked.
Even though OPS’s faction withdrew their candidate, they will push for the success of the two-leaf emblem, they claimed. Yet, there is no regard for that, he stated. OPS stated that since the Supreme Court had deferred ruling on his petition challenging the drastic changes in the AIADMK and the by-election was approaching, he reversed his decision to permit EPS’ candidate for the sake of the party’s symbol.
Senior leader of the OPS group P H Manoj Pandian read the resolutions adopted during the meeting. First, he stated, is to “reclaim the AIADMK from a dictator” (EPS). “We will forever regain the two-leaf sign,” Pandian declared as he read a resolution. Before now, OPS and his part wanted the AIADMK to work together, but EPS’ side refused.
In addition, the OPS faction passed a resolution to reverse election losses since 2019. After the merging of EPS and OPS in 2017, the faction resolved to designate the late J Jayalalithaa the permanent general secretary of the AIADMK. In July of last year, the party’s general council eliminated the dual positions of OPS as coordinator and EPS as joint coordinator. The council removed OPS and appointed EPS as general secretary in the interim.
OPS refused to call EPS by name, claiming he had lost respect for him.
“Amma (Jayalalithaa) fortified the party. We determined after her passing that she would be the permanent general secretary. “After that, you know the situation,” OPS added. “Dharmayudham 2 has begun defending the party.”
Soon after Jayalalithaa’s death, OPS’ first dharmayudham was a stunning change of events when he resigned as chief minister and turned against V K Sasikala. OPS then sat in a contemplative position on Jayalalithaa’s memorial on the Marina beach and declared his revolt against Sasikala, who was then supported by EPS.
“They are holding the party with an iron fist, and the cadre will destroy it,” OPS stated again on Monday, hoping that “the soul” of Jayalalithaa and M G Ramachandran (MGR) will preserve the party. “We will establish a future in which cadre can serve as party coordinator, co-coordinator, and prime minister. This is the dharmayudham’s philosophy.”
As the Election Commission of India recognised Eknath Shinde’s claim to the leadership of the Shiv Sena and its bow and arrow emblem based on legislative majority, the EPS-led party with a majority in the legislative wing of the party is hopeful of winning the ‘two leaves’ symbol. EPS has been actively campaigning in Erode (east) seat for his candidate K S Thennarasu. D Jayakumar, a spokesman for the party, has accused DMK ministers of touring voters to sway them in favour of EVKS Elangovan, the Congress candidate. Jayakumar stated, “This government is acting in an undemocratic manner.”
Madras High Court rejects AIADMK by-election petition
In the meantime, the former law minister and organising secretary of the AIADMK, C V Shanmugam, petitioned the Madras high court to order the Election Commission to ensure a free and fair byelection, saying that the ruling DMK was bribing voters. In contrast, the high court dismissed their petitions, expressing satisfaction with the actions taken by the government.