Chennai: All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) interim chief Edappadi K. Palaniswami (EPS) Thursday expelled 18 members, including the two sons of former party coordinator O. Panneerselvam (OPS), from the party’s primary membership in Tamil Nadu.
EPS has convened a meeting of MLAs Sunday, when Tamil Nadu’s main opposition party will elect the deputy leader of the AIADMK Legislature Party, who will replace OPS.
Those expelled include the two sons of OPS — O.P. Ravindranath (AIADMK’s lone Lok Sabha MP) and V.P. Jayapradeep — former minister Vellamandi N. Natarajan, Perambalur district secretary R.T. Ramachandram, and AIADMK mouthpiece Namadhu MGR’s former editor Marudhu Azhaguraj.
“These people are being removed from their primary memberships of the AIADMK for acting in contradiction with the goals and policies of the party. They also brought disrepute to the AIADMK,” EPS said in a statement.
He also instructed party cadres not to be in touch with the expelled functionaries.
“EPS cracks his whip in Amma’s (J. Jayalalithaa) style. (He) removed all those who bring disrepute to AIADMK from the primary membership of the party,” AIADMK spokesperson Kovai Sathyan told ThePrint.
On Thursday, EPS also made some key appointments to the party and inducted eight organising secretaries from various communities.
While OPS and senior leaders P.H. Manoj Pandian and R. Vaithilingam were expelled 11 July during the party’s drama-filled general council meeting, OPS continues to maintain that EPS does not have the power to expel him since he remains the coordinator in the Election Commission records.
The sacking of members seen as OPS supporters comes days after the chaos that marked the AIADMK’s general council meeting that abolished the dual leadership system. Previously, OPS and EPS shared the leadership, with the former serving as coordinator and the latter as co-coordinator.
The 11 July general council meeting elected EPS as ‘single leader’ of the party and termed him interim general secretary.
With this, a resolution passed five years ago declaring former Tamil Nadu chief minister and party chief J. Jayalalithaa, who died in 2016, the ‘eternal general secretary’ was nullified. The council vested in EPS full powers to helm the party in the interim period as preparations begin to hold elections for the post within four months.
While the EPS-OPS tussle played out for weeks, ousted AIADMK leader V.K. Sasikala termed the general council meeting “invalid”, stating that she was the one who enjoyed wide support.
On 11 July, Sasikala, a close aide to Jayalalithaa, had said it was time for the party workers to come together. “Looking at today’s events, the time has come for all AIADMK workers to come together. If you try to grab the leadership position, it will not last. No position attained through money will last and it’s legally void. Don’t lose sight of reality by fighting for the shadow,” she said.