For the first time in five years, the ADMK has got a new General Secretary as on Monday - July 11, the party's General Council meeting appointed Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS) as the interim General Secretary and the party has agreed to conduct the elections for the post of General Secretary within four months. While his elevation has inflamed the political turmoil within the party, it is pertinent to say that EPS is rising in the party in the fall of the party's late supremo J Jayalalithaa, who died in 2016.
When the factions of EPS and O Panneerselvam (OPS) merged in 2017 after ousting Jayalalithaa's close aide VK Sasikala from the party, both the leaders agreed and declared that Jayalalithaa would be ADMK's permanent and eternal General Secretary. After enacting the bylaws to support their declaration, both OPS and EPS have become Chief Coordinator and Joint Coordinator respectively. Both EPS and OPS led the party, that encountered major debacles in several polls.
Amid the defeats and political crisis, both the leaders have reiterated that Jayalalithaa will remain as the party's eternal General Secretary. But, now, as a testament to anything will happen in politics, the scenes and slogans are changed and the unending drama of the leadership tussle between EPS and OPS has now taken a new turn where Jayalalithaa's tag of eternal General Secretary has become history.
In the ADMK's General Council meeting that was held on Monday - July 11, it was full of EPS wave as besides elevating EPS as the interim General Secretary, the general council meeting removed the powers from OPS and handed them over to EPS. The major overhaul was done by the EPS camp with the view of restricting the rise of OPS and the latter was completely sacked from the party to ensure that he won't be able to rebel against EPS in the General Secretary election that will be held within four months.
For EPS and his faction, EPS has to become the party's next face after Jayalalithaa and to become the permanent General Secretary, he should have no contenders. In the general council meeting, the ADMK has passed 16 resolutions and one among them is changing the party's bylaw of keeping Jayalalithaa as the eternal General Secretary of the party to pave the way for EPS. The political observers say that EPS has crafted this move of removing the eternal General Secretary to cement his base as strong as it was for Jayalalithaa.
To be precise, EPS has risen to the post of General Secretary in the fall of Jayalalithaa as the party, that was the citadel of Jayalalithaa during her reign, has now agreed to remove Jayalalithaa from being the eternal General Secretary. In ADMK, the ultimate authority would be with the General Secretary and after being under the rust for over five years, the post has been revived and the party has appointed EPS as Jayalalithaa's successor.
Reacting to the overhaul and his expulsion, OPS has opposed the resolutions passed by the General Council meeting and said that reviving the post of General Secretary is a betrayal to Jayalalithaa. OPS further said that the single leadership will be against the decision of the General Council in 2017 and he urged that the party should be led by dual leadership.