Edappadi K. Palaniswami is AIADMK’s sixth general secretary

The party founder, M.G. Ramachandran, was the first to hold the post; Mr. Palaniswami succeeds former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa who took over the post in 1988 and held it until her death in 2016

March 28, 2023 03:52 pm | Updated March 29, 2023 05:51 pm IST - CHENNAI

Former Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, now the sixth general secretary of the AIADMK, seen in Chennai on Tuesday

Former Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, now the sixth general secretary of the AIADMK, seen in Chennai on Tuesday | Photo Credit: R. Ragu

Edappadi K. Palaniswami, who assumed charge as the general secretary of the AIADMK on Tuesday, March 28, 2023 is the sixth person to hold the post.

Former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, who died in December 2016, was the last full-fledged occupant of the post. Even though the party’s general council, at its meeting on December 29 that year, elected Jayalalithaa’s close aide, V.K. Sasikala as the general secretary, this was questioned strongly by former Assembly Speaker P.H. Pandian later. In the first week of February 2017, senior party leader Panruti S. Ramachandran, who was then with her camp, clarified that Ms. Sasikala’s position was that of interim general secretary. 

Before she began her four-year-long prison sentence in Bengaluru in the middle of that month, Ms. Sasikala made former MP and her nephew, T.T.V. Dhinakaran, the party’s deputy general secretary. In a few months however, the group led by Mr. Palaniswami turned against him and decided to join hands with the camp of Mr. Panneerselvam. 

At the September 2017 general council meeting, when factions led by Mr. Palaniswami and former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam came together, the post of general secretary was abolished. An amendment was made to the party’s by-laws, by declaring Jayalailthaa as the “eternal general secretary.”  Instead, two posts: coordinator and co-coordinator (joint coordinator), were created.  Mr. Panneerselvam and Mr. Palaniswami were appointed to the posts respectively. 

Five years later, after differences erupted between the two leaders, another amendment was made, repealing the rule that described Jayalalithaa as the “eternal general secretary” of the party.  The post of general secretary was revived and till the election took place, Mr. Palaniswami had been made the interim general secretary.  Then, Mr. Pannerselvam and a few of his supporters were expelled from the party. 

The first to hold the post of general secretary was former Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran, who founded the party in October 1972 following his exit from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). He occupied it  till June 1978. When reports of infighting in the AIADMK cropped up eight years later, MGR took back the post in October 1986 and held it till his death in December 1987.

V.R. Nedunchezhian, who joined the AIADMK in September 1977, was initially made the officiating general secretary and subsequently, the full-fledged general secretary in January 1979. Nedunchezhian had to quit the post in June 1980 after he became Finance Minister. P.U. Shanmugam succeeded him. Consequent to becoming Local Administration Minister in March 1985, he resigned from the post.

S. Raghavanandam, who was Labour Minister in MGR’s Cabinet during 1977-85, became the next general secretary. He went on to hold it for nearly one and a half years. After MGR’s death, the party suffered a split. On January 1, 1988, Jayalalithaa, who was the then propaganda secretary, announced that she assumed the general secretaryship of the party, in response to, what was claimed, a request conveyed by 15 district secretaries of the party. For some time, this group was  described as AIADMK (Jayalalithaa).

The other faction owing allegiance to MGR’s widow Janaki Ramachandran came to be called the AIADMK (Janaki). Raghavanandam, who was a senior deputy general secretary at the time of the split, became the general secretary in-charge of this faction. After the two factions suffered heavy reverses in the 1989 Assembly elections, they came together and became the unified AIADMK. Jayalalithaa held the post till her death.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.