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AIADMK throws weight behind EPS, bottles hurled at OPS in GC; CM Stalin taunts

AIADMK throws weight behind EPS, bottles hurled at OPS in GC; CM Stalin taunts
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Chennai: Amid chaos, the AIADMK General Council meeting here on Thursday rejected all the 23 proposed resolutions and announced that the one and only demand of the GC members is to bring in a system of a single leadership for the party, favouring Joint Coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS).

When Coordinator O Panneerselvam, popularly known as OPS was about to leave the dais, a water bottle landed pretty close to him when he stood near the podium and almost fell over his Personal Security Officer who extended his arms around the former Chief Minister to protect him. A second water bottle came close to the party Coordinator when he was walking down the stairs from the dais towards the exit gate.

A palpable sense of anxiety prevailed as supporters of Paneerselvam and Palaniswami engaged in rival slogan shouting and some of them loudly argued against one another and voiced their full-throated backing to their respective leaders. As OPS and EPS entered the premises of the hall -the venue of the meeting- their supporters raised slogans welcoming them.

Elsewhere, addressing a function, DMK President and Chief Minister M K Stalin made a veiled reference to the infighting in the AIADMK and said those who wanted to decimate his party have now been wiped out.

At the AIADMK meeting, when the GC members cheered and overwhelmingly favoured EPS and stuck to the single leadership chorus, OPS stood up from his seat on the dais on a cue from loyalist R Vaithilingam and started moving towards the podium.

Taking the mic, Vaithilingam, party Deputy Secretary announced that the GC meet went against the law and was not valid and when he had moved just a few steps ahead, another Panneerselvam loyalist P H Manoj Pandian raised slogans favouring his leader. All along OPS was standing close to the podium and during this time, a water bottle landed behind his back from the audience. JCD Prabhakar was among other OPS supporters who were on the dais to support their leader.

As soon as the meet commenced amid chaotic scenes of slogan shouting, the process of taking up the agenda for the meeting and passage of already decided resolutions were taken up. The first among them, to invite Interim Presidum Chairman, Tamilmagan Hussain to chair the GC meet was proposed by Panneerselvam and seconded by Palaniswami, who addressed the former as 'brother' in his brief remarks. Later, the General Council formally recognised Hussain as the Presidium Chairman.

Soon, senior leader C Ve Shanmugam who was recently elected to the Rajya Sabha announced that all resolutions "are rejected by the General Council." Shanmugam spoke on the need for a single leadership for the AIADMK, favouring EPS.

Deputy Secretary K P Munusamy said all the GC members have rejected all the 23 proposed resolutions. "Their one and only demand is for a single leadership." When such a resolution favouring a single leadership is taken up and passed, all other resolutions would be adopted on the same day, he added. A majority of the over 2,500 GC members have favoured EPS, Shanmugam said.

EPS was honoured with a decorated crown, a sword and sceptre by supporters amid chants favouring him, OPS along with his supporters including Vaithilingam moved out of the hall and left the premises. The GC meet, that witnessed chaotic scenes was over within 40 minutes after it started.

B Valarmathi, a senior office-bearer and a former Minister sung a song from party founder, the late M G Ramachandran's movie and said, 'a leader will emerge' apparently hailing EPS. The GC meet, which stuck to the one and only demand of making EPS the supreme party leader, turned out to be a full show of strength of the Palaniswami camp with OPS followers heavily outnumbered.

Panneerselvam was seated close to EPS on the dais when the GC burst into the single leadership chorus. Soon, Hussain announced that the next GC meet would be held on July 11 and Munusamy told reporters that EPS is all set to elected as the party's supreme, single leader, (General Secretary) in the next month's meeting.

Hours after the AIADMK meet, BJP State unit chief K Annamalai along with senior leader CT Ravi called on Palaniswami here to seek support for the NDA's Presidential nominee Droupadi Murmu. The BJP leaders also visited Panneerselvam.

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