With the new tag and new power, ADMK's interim General Secretary Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS) has begun to stem the political base of his rival O Panneerselvam (OPS) in every way possible. Earlier this week, after taking charge as the new leader of the party, EPS expelled OPS and his supporters from the primary membership of the party when OPS was making efforts to keep the command with him.
Days after expelling OPS from the party, EPS on Thursday -July 14 took the cadres into shock by expelling the sons of OPS from the party. In what has become a mass expulsion, EPS has fired 18 functionaries from the party in a single shot and all of these cadres were supporters of OPS. The expelled functionaries include former minister Vellamandi Natarajan, former MP R Gopalakrishnan, and current Lok Sabha MP Ravindranath Kumar, who is the son of OPS, Jayapradeep, who is another son of OPS, and Marudhu Alagaraj, who was the chief of ADMK's mouthpiece 'Namadhu Amma'.
In his official statement, EPS has said that all these functionaries were expelled on the grounds of bringing disrepute to the party and for violating the party rules. The mass expulsion has stunned the OPS camp and it has further sparked what has been a long-simmering tussle between the two leaders. According to reports, as EPS, being the party's interim General Secretary, has sacked Panneerselvam's son Ravindranath Kumar from ADMK, the latter would be disqualified as a Lok Sabha MP due to which ADMK would be pushed to have no MPs in the Lok Sabha.
Ravindranath Kumar is the only MP for ADMK in Lok Sabha and his expulsion has come at a high time when the BJP is in the process of reaping the support from all the allied MPs and MLAs for the presidential polls. In his statement, EPS has further instructed the ADMK cadres and functionaries not to exercise any sort of contact and connection with these 18 expelled leaders. While the ADMK will be losing its representation in the Lok Sabha, the party has four MPs in the Rajya Sabha.
Earlier, after being appointed as the party's interim General Secretary, EPS expelled the close supporters of OPS - Vaithilingam, Manoj Pandian, and JCB Prabhakar from the party. He rose to the top post in the General Council meeting that was held this week in Chennai. While the EPS camp has passed 16 resolutions in the meeting including that of changing bylaws of the party, the OPS camp has boycotted the meeting.
The resolution to elevate EPS was unanimously passed in the meeting after which the party removed OPS from the post of Treasurer and from the primary membership of the party. The post of Treasurer was awarded to senior leader Dindigul Srinivasan, who is the former minister and a supporter of EPS. The party has announced that the election for the post of General Secretary will be held in four months. Our sources say that with the view of weakening the political base of OPS and curbing him from contesting for the post of General Secretary, EPS has expelled him and he has now expelled the sons of O Panneerselvam.