O Paneerselvam (OPS) on Thursday, August 18, called for unity between the divided members of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and extended an olive branch to Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS). Speaking to the media a day after the Madras High Court nullified EPS’s appointment as AIADMK’s interim general secretary, OPS said, “It is not about single or dual leadership. I want a collective leadership for the AIADMK. This is the desire of the AIADMK party workers.”
OPS added that party workers wanted a strong AIADMK and that he wanted a united party as well. Through the press conference, OPS referred to EPS as his ‘beloved brother’ and said he wished to let bygones be bygones. When asked if would be ready to join hands with AMMK leader TTV Dhinakaran and AIADMK's expelled former interim general secretary VK Sasikala, he said he is ready to work with them if it will strengthen the party.
Meanwhile, the EPS camp has approached Madras High Court challenging the single judge order that nullified EPS’s appointment as the interim general secretary of the AIADMK. Contrary to what OPS said, Joint Coordinator of the party EPS said that the General Council wishes for a single leadership and that all the leaders of the General Council have been duly elected by the party cadres. He also questioned how the party can be united if OPS approaches the court frequently while skipping the General Council meetings and his ‘goondas’ vandalise the party office.
EPS added, “All he does is this (extend an invite for dual leadership), all he wants is power. He makes these statements only for the welfare of his family. I am not power hungry for any post. I have worked hard and climbed to the position.” He also alleged that OPS has stolen important papers and deeds from the office and that he has been in touch with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).
After the verdict was passed on Wednesday, August 18, leaders from the EPS faction had said that decisions over the leadership within the AIADMK is an internal issue of the party and the High Court order is an interim one. Speaking to the press on August 17, senior party leader and former Minister D Jayakumar said that there is no deviation from the AIADMK bye-laws. He added, “The HC has given a verdict, it is not a final judgment. We will discuss the next course of action after consulting with legal experts. The General Council is the highest decision making body of the party.”
However, OPS’s counsel Thirumaran welcomed the verdict and said, “This is a big victory for OPS. The court has accepted our argument and delivered a judgment. The court has rejected the arguments and decisions taken in the General Council meeting."