As tempers run high, AIADMK gears up for general council

Amid raging tempers between the discordant AIADMK camps divided on the single-leadership issue, which left a party cadre injured on Saturday, the AIADMK is gearing up for the general council meeting on June 23 with the hope of ensuring a rapprochement between the two groups by then.

Aiming to ensure cordiality among the top leaders, party senior leader and former Minister K A Sengottaiyan initiated a dialogue with AIADMK coordinator O Panneerselvam this evening.

“The meeting is to send a message to the cadre not to wrangle but to keep the flock united,” said a senior leader in the party. He claimed that the party needs to retain its two leaves symbol and also keep the nearly 1.5 crore cadre united.

Sengottaiyan had earlier held a consultation with party’s co-coordinator K Palaniswami, whose supporters have been demanding a unitary leadership under him after disbanding the dual leadership posts which the party approved following the merger of the factions led by Palaniswami and Panneerselvam post-J Jayalalithaa’s demise. The Panneerselvam camp has been supporting the present set-up of dual leadership.

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Emphasising the need for a cordial atmosphere in the Dravidian party, former State Minister B Valarmathi said letters signed by both Panneerselvam and Palaniswami were sent to the members to attend the general council on June 23. Asked if there is any threat to the party, especially an imminent split over the leadership crisis, she replied, “A few leaders are publicising their views on leadership.” “If the party is to survive, the leaders and cadres should remain united,” she opined.

In Madurai, another leader V V Rajan Chellappa appealed to Panneerselvam to pave way for the latter to take up the reins of the party based on his performance as Chief Minister.

“You or I can’t decide who should be the leader. Jayakumar is not the deciding authority. The AIADMK should decide,” another former State Minister D Jayakumar said. He claimed there was no threat to the party.

“It is usual for district secretaries to express their views at the meeting. I merely conveyed to you (media) what was spoken in the party on unitary leadership and have not revealed any secret,” Jayakumar told reporters here.
He condemned the attack on party member Marimuthu of Perambur here by a section in the party on the fifth day of infighting at party headquarters, and said violence can never be a solution.

On former Minister R Vaithialingam’s remark that no resolution favouring unitary leadership was finalised, Jayakumar said it was for the party to decide. “The 12-member committee on resolution gave a final shape to the resolutions to be passed on June 23. The general council will happen as scheduled,” Jayakumar said.

The nearly 2,600-member strong general council of which both Panneerselvam and Palaniswami are members is the highest decision-making body in the AIADMK. According to a source in the party, majority of cadres do not relish the idea of reviving the general secretary post held by late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.

“In the event of a special resolution being moved at the meeting with the consent of the presidium chairman, and approved by a majority, the party is likely to retain only one post which could be coordinator or it could be aptly renamed,” a leader claimed.

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