Explained: The power struggle between OPS and AIADMK’s EPS and what happens next


The latest twist in history came on Thursday when O Panneerselvam walked out of the party’s general council meeting after respecting the single leadership request and favoring his rival Edappadi K Palaniswami.

O Panneerselvam (left) and Edappadi K Palaniswami.. PTI

Tamil Nadu politics is witnessing a great drama with the opposition Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) experiencing a power struggle between the camps of Edapaddi Palaniswamy (EPS) and O Panneerselvam (OPS).

The latest twist in history came on Thursday when OPS walked out of the party’s general council meeting after standing at the behest of single leadership and favoring his rival and party coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS ).

As EPS was honored with a crown, sword and scepter by supporters amid chants of support, PAHO and its supporters including Deputy Secretary R Vaithilingam left the room and left the premises. The encounter which saw chaotic scenes ended within 40 minutes of its start.

B Valarmathi, a senior official and former minister, sang a song from party founder MG Ramachandran’s film and said “a leader will emerge” apparently hailing EPS. The GC meeting, which was held on the one and only demand of making the EPS the paramount party leader, turned out to be a complete show of force by Palaniswami’s camp with widely supported OPS supporters. outnumbered.

OPS, as Panneerselvam is known, was seated next to EPS on the dais when the GC burst into the single leadership chorus. The party announced that the CG would meet again on July 11.

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The development came just hours after a Madras High Court divisive bench in an early hours hearing on Thursday blocked the party from making any decision on the unitary leadership – a move that favored the OPS, who had requested that the meeting be prevented and the party’s statutes not allowed to be modified.

But how did we get here? Let’s take a closer look:

According News18, the first sign of stirring up trouble was a proclamation by spokesman D Jayakumar at a press conference after a meeting of key officials last week. He said, somewhat cryptically, that there had been voices seeking a “one direction” for the party.

The ‘we want one leadership’ was first raised by EPS loyalists, followed in turn by the OPS camp demanding a ‘unified leadership’.

According News18, the chorus of EPS as party leader only intensified. Meanwhile, OPS supporters posted posters claiming their man was handpicked by late AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa.

Explained The power struggle between AIADMK OPS and EPS and what happens next

File photo of late AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa. PTI

Remember that after the death of Jayalalitha, the position of General Secretary was abolished – OPS was appointed coordinator and EPS co-coordinator.

However, on the side of the EPS, the situation “confuses the executives”, according to The Tribune.

What is the BJP angle?

The BJP, which is the ally of the AIADMK, is watching closely.

According The Tribune, although Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently tried to put an end to the raging debate on “imposing Hindi”, the cadres are also said to be opposed to the alliance with the BJP, especially after the language dispute, and the general feeling is that the AIADMK should approach the 2024 general elections with a clean slate.

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AIADMK Organizing Secretary C Ponnaiyan recently made open accusations against the BJP-led central government. Jayalaithaa’s longtime confidant VK Sasikala is also making the most of the split, taking on the current leadership of the AIADMK to be a “weak opposition” to the ruling DMK, according to The Tribune.

Explained The power struggle between AIADMK OPS and EPS and what happens next

File photo by VK Sasikala. Twitter/AIADMKOfficial

What are the experts saying?

Political analysts don’t see an end to the crisis anytime soon, but warn that the BJP would do well to curb its enthusiasm.

ORF’s Sathiya Murthy said News9 that although the AIADMK may appear to be at rock bottom and a party in leadership crisis, it will still manage to contain the BJP led by former IPS officer K Annamalai. “If he and the BJP think that the AIADMK is weak and will give up space, both are sadly mistaken. The recent political history of Tamil Nadu is a testimony that these two Dravidian parties – the AIADMK and the DMK – kept the national parties at bay, and never even allowed Congress to regain its footing after its ejection in the late 1960s. The DMK and AIADMK both lost the polls and were decimated in effect, at different times but still bounced back to power with credible and sweeping voices.In 1996 Jayalalithaa suffered a humiliating defeat but five years later seized power and the DMK also scored similar victories after defeats.

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Professor Ramu Manivannan of the University of Madras says this suits the DMK, which is quietly continuing to consolidate its position. And moreover, the occasional noises of VK Sasikala, the ousted AIADMK leader and longtime companion of Jayalalithaa, also add spice to the ongoing leadership battle in the party. “The AIADMK will be in serious trouble if it does not resolve its leadership problem and put its own house in order,” Manivannan said. News9.

What future for PAHO?

OPS is facing the struggle of its political career.

“The OPS has lost its credibility. I was one of them who supported him during Dharmayudham in February 2017. But he was selfish and did not recognize the efforts of those who were loyal to him, including me. His image is now tarnished and it is time to have the EPS as the leader of the party,” said Ma Foi K Pandiarajan, one of the many loyalists who joined the EPS camp. News18.

With contributions from agencies

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