O Paneerselvam and his supporters walked out of the general council meeting as party cadre demanded talks on a single leadership, which is when water bottles were hurled at them.

O Paneerselvam in a white shirt against the backdrop of General Council meeting held on June 23
news Politics Thursday, June 23, 2022 - 15:00

A scuffle broke out at the highly anticipated AIADMK General Council meeting on Thursday, June 23, as supporters of O Paneerselvam were abused and attacked by supporters of Edappadi K Palaniswami. As tussle over the leadership issue snowballed at the meeting, OPS’s supporters exited the meeting midway, alleging that they were assaulted.

High drama was reported at the General Coucil meeting, as the 23 draft resolutions were rejected by party members and they had a single demand — for unitary leadership. However, since Madras High Court had barred talks on leadership after OPS’s plea, the council members submitted a memorandum seeking another general council meeting to discuss the leadership issue. Following this, the party’s presidium chairman Dr Tamil Magan Hussain announced that the next General Council meeting will be held on July 11 to discuss unitary leadership in the party and abolishing dual-leadership by law.

Then, when OPS took to the mic to address the gathering, he faced technical issues and so he walked out of the meeting. Deputy coordinator R Vaithiyalingam then shouted into the mic that they were rejecting the new dates for the General Council meeting and that this decision was against the law. Senior party leader Manoj Pandian was also seen raising slogans and OPS, along with his supporters staged a walk out. This was when water bottles were hurled at them from the audience.

Exiting the meeting hall, former MLA and OPS supporter Rajalakshmi said that they were assaulted inside the hall and so they came out. Visuals have now emerged showing some party cadre bleeding and with injuries. A man was seen with a broken mouth after clashing with the opposite faction, who was later taken to the hospital in a car. Even as OPS was exiting the hall, there were water bottles hurled at the group by the attenders of the meeting. OPS supporter and former MLA JCD Prabhakaran said that bottles were thrown at OPS, but did not land on him and landed on security personnel. “There was an attempt to insult and humiliate OPS. All of them were raising slogans and shouting,” he told TNM.

A day before the meeting, on June 22, the Madras High Court heard a batch of petitions seeking the cancellation of the general council meeting. Around 9 pm on Wednesday, Justice Krishnan Ramaswamy, in his brief order, permitted the meeting to be conducted, but refrained from restraining the EPS group from taking up any other fresh resolutions, which would ultimately result in unitary leadership. The group later met Chief Justice MN Bhandari and obtained his permission to prefer an appeal against the order of the single judge.

The CJ nominated Justices Duraiswamy and Sundar Mohan as the judges to make a special sitting at midnight and hear the appeal. Accordingly, the bench sat at the senior judge's residence and commenced the hearing around 1 am and passed its orders around 4 am on Thursday, providing some relief to the OPS camp.

The demand that of single leadership in AIADMK emerged on June 14, with senior party leader and former Minister D Jayakumar telling the media that a majority of party cadre and functionaries have said that a unitary leadership is needed in the party.

(With inouts from Shabbir Ahmed)

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