The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s General Council on Monday expelled O Panneerselvam from the party’s primary membership minutes after electing former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami as the interim general secretary, PTI reported.
Paneerselvam was formerly the coordinator of the AIADMK and Palaniswami was the joint coordinator.
The developments came shortly after the Madras High Court allowed the General Council to go ahead with its meeting in Chennai and dismissed a plea by Panneerselvam seeking to stall it.
At the meeting, the AIADMK General Council abolished the party’s dual leadership model and appointed Palaniswami as the “single supreme leader”, The News Minute reported. Apart from being expelled from the party’s primary membership for allegedly indulging in “anti-party activities”, Panneerselvam was also removed from his post of treasurer.
Legislators R Vaithilingam, PH Manoj Pandian and former MLA JCD Prabakar who supported him were also expelled.
“The General Council members have unanimously passed the resolution to bring a single leadership into the party,” Palaniswami said later.
He also criticised Panneerselvam, accusing him of siding with the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam regime and working to weaken the AIADMK. Panneerselvam, he added, acted against the party interests, its goals and principles.
The council members claimed that they wanted the party to get rid of the dual leadership because of difficulty in decision-making and discontentment among party cadre.
The two positions of coordinator and joint coordinator were created during the general council meeting on September 12, 2017, after the party gave the honorary title of “eternal general secretary” to late former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
The Panneerselvam-led camp has consistently opposed the move to remove the posts, saying it would amount to a betrayal of Jayalalithaa.
After being expelled, Panneerselvam said he was elected as coordinator of the AIADMK by 1.5 crore party workers and that neither Palaniswami nor senior leader KP Munusamy had the right to oust him. “I expel them from primary membership of the AIADMK,” he claimed.
He told reporters that he would approach the courts to “secure justice”.
Pannerselvam also sat on the floor at the AIADMK office headquarters in Royapettah to protest the decision, The Hindu reported.
Earlier in the day, the AIADMK headquarters was sealed by the authorities after violence erupted between the supporters of Panneerselvam and Palaniswami.
“The police did not give security to the AIADMK headquarters despite pleas,” Palaniswami said at Monday’s meeting. “ This is proof of the deteriorating law and order.”