#WhatTheFAQ: EPS vs OPS — All about the turmoil in AIADMK's top leadership

The party has voted to end the dual leadership system and expel its erstwhile Coordinator, O Panneerselvam
Pic: Edexlive
Pic: Edexlive

There is an overhaul in the offing for the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) party in Tamil Nadu. The party has voted for some major change in its leadership, and as the drama continues to unfold in Chennai, here's all you need to know about this issue.

Why was the AIADMK General Council meeting called?
A faction within the party was dissatisfied with the current dual leadership set-up of the AIADMK, which is currently the Opposition party in the TN Legislative Assembly. They were dissatisfied with the decision-making process and discontented with the three consecutive election defeats the party had suffered under the dual leadership system.

How did the dual leadership system work?
Under the dual leadership system, the party was led by Coordinator O Panneerselvam and Joint Coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswami. This system was adopted after the party expelled VK Sasikala who had taken over the reins from party supremo and ex-Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa in 2017. At the time, the party was split into two factions between O Panneerselvam (OPS) and Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS). After Sasikala was expelled, the two factions reconciled and held joint leadership of the AIADMK.

When did the dual leadership model start creating trouble?
Trouble began brewing within the party in June this year when senior members, including district secretaries, spoke out against the dual leadership policy, and instead, called for one strongman at the centre of the party. On June 23, a General Council meeting of the party was conducted which did not recognise the amendments made to the party's bylaws in the Executive Committee meeting in December 2020, that introduced the dual leadership policy, according to a letter written by Palaniswami to OPS. In the letter, Palaniswami informed OPS that he would, therefore, no longer be recognised as the Coordinator of the party. The Madras High Court did not entertain attempts from the OPS faction to injunct the meeting scheduled for July 11 to decide the new leadership structure. 

What happened at the meeting today, July 11?
At the General Council meeting conducted today at the party's headquarters in Chennai, the dual leadership system was abolished, and Edappadi K Palaniswami, who is a former CM of Tamil Nadu, was unanimously elected as the Interim General Secretary of the party. OPS was expelled not just as the party's Coordinator, but also from his position as the Treasurer, along with three of his supporters.

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