CHENNAI: It was celebration time for EPS camp members soon after the High Court’s verdict, which was in their favour was out. However, after winning the first legal battle, O Panneerselvam faction, which had lost the second round, had decided to move the Supreme Court against the verdict.
Hailing the court’s order, AIADMK interim general secretary and former chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) said ‘justice has won and it was a historic verdict’. Stating that certain selfish elements (referring to the OPS faction) were supporting the DMK, he said “to stop their misconducts, we were continuously fighting with the support of cadre”.
Welcoming the court’s order that both the AIADMK general council meeting and the resolutions, that were passed in the gathering, were valid, Palaniswami thanked the party cadre, district functionaries, former ministers, party MPs, legislators, and legal experts, who stood with him during the legal battle.
However, AIADMK ‘coordinator’ Panneerselvam said that this was only an High Court order. “We will approach the Supreme Court.”
OPS supporters like Karnataka Pughazendhi, Marudhu Alaguraj and Kolathur D Krishnamoorthy said that team OPS would approach legal experts and work on the next course of legal action to retrieve the party from EPS and his coterie. “The resolutions adopted and the way of the party general council held is in violation to the party by laws and we will appeal before the apex court,” said Pughazendhi.
“A good judgment. Gives scope for both the parties to proceed further with their respective claims of party and symbol and further go ahead with appointments of new office bearers. Had the judgment been otherwise the entire functioning of the party would be in deadlock”, tweeted AIADMK ex-IT wing secretary Aspire K Swaminathan.
Senior AIADMK leader and former fisheries minister D Jayakumar, said “court’s order clearly says that the general council meeting was valid and therefore, EPS would continue to be the party’s general secretary beside the removal of OPS from the party will also be valid”. When asked about the future of OPS, Jayakumar said, “it will be zero.”
Leaders of rival factions spar over judgment
AIADMK leaders representing rival factions of Edappadi K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam from Western districts traded barbs over the court verdict on the conduct of the general council meeting.
‘Kovai’ Selvaraj, a supporter of OPS, accused the EPS faction of trying to create confusion and destroy the party. “The courts are delivering differing verdicts. Only the Election Commission’s verdict should be considered final and even courts cannot intervene,” he said.
Further, Selvaraj said that it is not fair to occupy the seat of general secretary, a post held by former chief minister J Jayalalithaa in AIADMK, after passing resolutions against such a move. “It is a betrayal to Jayalalithaa. Around 1.5 crore cadre are in support of OPS,” he added.
AIADMK MLA Pollachi V Jayaraman, a loyalist of EPS said that the verdict has ended the talks on dual leadership in the party. Claiming that the case will be dismissed even if an appeal is made in the Supreme Court, Jayaraman said legal action will be taken, if anyone else used the party flag of AIADMK.