CHENNAI: No general secretary, no coordinator or joint coordinator for the principal opposition party, AIADMK, which ruled the state for three decades. After the four-month period before which the AIADMK has to elect the new general secretary came to an end on November 10, the party officially has no leader. Also, the Election Commission (EC) is yet to approve the claims of Edappadi K Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam to be the joint coordinator and coordinator of the party.
OPS and EPS in their capacity as coordinator and joint coordinators had submitted reports with the EC in December 2021 after holding intra-party elections. However, the EC is yet to approve this as per the provision of the Representation of People’s Act 1951. It is mandatory as per the provision for the political parties registered with the EC.
Amidst the murky situation, which is getting worse as days pass, the time-bound tenure of EPS ended on Thursday (November 10), leaving the party headless and without office-bearers.
The general council convened on July 11 by EPS camp announced that Palaniswami would be the interim general secretary and the election would be held for the post of general secretary within four months. As they ran out of time, their plan to hold the polls for the vital post backfired at EPS team. “He will be our next general secretary in the next 10 days from now on,” said a senior party leader and supporter of EPS, hoping for a favourable verdict in the Supreme Court on November 21.
An older timer and supporter of Salem strongman admitted their efforts to find a strong leader in the form of EPS remains a mirage and blamed the resolution (to appoint EPS as interim general secretary) was an ill-conceived one. “It turned out to be a double-edged sword,” said a leader in the AIADMK HQ.
The undertaking given by the EPS team to the SC that they would not conduct a poll for general secretary psot, leaving EPS faction in no man’s land.
Meanwhile, OPS continues to claim himself as the coordinator of the party until 2026 as per the EC.
“Irony is that the EC has not approved it till date. It means OPS claim is thoroughly and legally invalid. And the fact is AIADMK, as per rules, does not have leader or office-bearers at present,” said political critic Tharasu Shyam, citing the provisions of 1951 Act.