Palaniswami’s appeal likely to be heard on August 22.
A day after the Madras High Court declared the July 11 general council meeting of the AIADMK as void, the party’s joint coordinator (co-coordinator) Edappadi K. Palaniswami on August 18 dismissed the call for “unity” given by coordinator O. Panneerselvam.
Asked for comment to the appeal of Mr. Panneerselvam for coming together of all those who were in the party, Mr. Palaniswami replied: “He keeps on making such a call. He has invited even those against whom he launched ‘dharmayudham’ [a campaign run by Mr Panneerselvam against the perceived domination of the family of former interim general secretary V.K. Sasikala in the affairs of the party]. For him, power matters. He does not want to put in work but wants to enjoy the position of power.”
Questioning the coordinator’s call, the joint coordinator charged it was Mr. Panneerselvam who “led” a mob which ransacked the headquarters of the party on the day of the general council meeting. Besides, he did not “want to declare him” [Mr Palaniswami] initially the candidate for the post of Chief Minister during the run-up to the 2021 Assembly elections. and this was a reason for the party’s “narrow defeat” to the DMK in the polls.
He was also responsible for the delay in the election of Mr Palaniswami as the leader of the AIADMK legislature party, even though he had the support of only three members whereas he [Mr Palaniswami] was backed by 63 members. “If he makes an issue every time, how will people accept the party? This was why the demand for single leadership cropped up,” Mr Palaniswami explained.
The joint coordinator complained that most of the office-bearers and senior leaders had discussed the issue of single leadership with Mr. Panneerselvam for 15 days but the latter did not agree to the new arrangement. Mr. Palaniswami also accused the coordinator of “collaboration” with the party’s principal adversary, the ruling DMK.
Earlier, Mr Panneerselvam, in his interaction with journalists at his residence in Chennai, said the party was now facing an “extra-ordinary situation” in view of recent differences. “Let bygones be bygones. Having removed them [the differences] from our hearts, it is our stand that the party should become united again. Considering the ideals of Puratchi Thalaivar [M.G.Ramachandran] and Amma [Jayalalithaa] and their sacrifices, we want to resolve that the party should once again capture power to serve people.”
The coordinator claimed he had been getting the feedback from different areas of the State, underscoring the need for unity of the party. Describing Mr Palaniswami as his “dear brother,” he said he had given “full cooperation” to Mr Palaniswami for four and a half years when the latter was Chief Minister.
To a specific query whether his call would apply to former interim general secretary V.K. Sasikala and AMMK general secretary TTV Dhinakaran, he replied in the affirmative.
Later, Mr Dhinakaran, in a couple of of tweets, said “self-less and democratic” people would welcome Mr Panneerselvam’s observations with a view to defeating the DMK. “Everyone knows that a group, which is an epitome of selfishness; hankers after power and harbours the sense of betrayal, will never agree to good aspects.”