CHENNAI: The high-voltage General Council meeting has commenced with both co-coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswami and party coordinator O Panneerselvam arriving at the meeting venue.
Though both OPS and EPS were accorded a warm reception by their supporters, the latter appeared to have stole the show as he was accorded more receptions at a string of key intersections.
A palpable sense of anxiety prevailed as supporters of O Paneerselvam and Edappadi K Palaniswami engaged in rival slogan shouting and some of them loudly argued against one another and voiced their full-throated backing to their respective leaders. As party coordinator Panneerselvam and Palaniswami entered the premises of the hall -the venue of the meeting- their supporters raised slogans welcoming them.
As 'Otrai Thalamai Vendum' (We want single leadership) and other slogans against OPS rent the air, it led to concerns, prompting leaders to appeal for peace and calm. Deputy Secretary R Vaithilingam was among the OPS's supporters who were present. While OPS was not welcomed by key functionaries and former Ministers, EPS was accorded a rousing welcome.
While OPS was the first to enter the venue along with his supporters and EPS made a dramatic entry later when his followers jostled to welcome and take him towards the dais. Veterans, including C Ponnaiyan, Dindigul Srinivasan, K A Sengottaiyan and senior office-bearers like former Ministers D Jayakumar, were present to take part in the party's brainstorming meet, which is expected to look into the sole leader demand though no decision is likely in view of a court directive.
Trespassers at the venue?
Reports have surfaced of people trespassing inside the venue with fake identification cards. In view of up keeping the law and order situation at the venue, members carrying the meet invite with identification cards such as Aadhaar and/or Voter IDs alone are allowed.
The police personnel in the security duty have said to apprehended people with fake ID cards. Confusion prevailed at the venue over reports of heated arguments between the policemen and the entrants.
The meeting is said to house 2,500 members in which 23 resolutions would be adopted. However, the contentious single-leadership amendment wouldn't be featuring in adherence to the Madras HC's Thursday ruling disallowing amendments apart from the 23 resolutions given to O Panneerselvam.
(With inputs from PTI)