Hours after the tumultuous General Council meeting of the ADMK that ended with tensions and furores, both the ADMK leaders Edappadi Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam had a meeting with Tamil Nadu BJP President K Annamalai and senior BJP leader CT Ravi. The unanticipated development has become the talk of the town and stirred a fresh debate.
Amid the speculations over the crux of the high-level meeting, it has been reported that BJP leaders Annamalai and CT Ravi have met Palaniswami and Panneerselvam separately at their respective residences to seek the ADMK's support for the BJP's candidate in the upcoming presidential election, that will be held on July 18. On Tuesday, BJP has announced former Jharkhand Governor Droupadi Murmu as its presidential candidate.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that Murmu would be a great President for India and the BJP has been appealing to the parties to vote for her, as the election has been warranted with the opposition league has fielded Yashwant Sinha as its candidate. As part of the campaign to build the support for Murmu, the BJP leaders have been meeting with the allied leaders and in line with that, BJP's Annamalai and CT Ravi have met with the ADMK leaders.
ADMK has been observing an alliance with the BJP and on Thursday morning, the ADMK has organized a General Council meeting in Chennai amid the ongoing leadership crisis, the meeting had witnessed tumultuous events as most of the senior leaders and functionaries had exhibited their anti-OPS mindset and there was a wave of support for Edappadi Palaniswami over his elevation as the party's General Secretary.
Initially, the party has planned to adopt 23 resolutions in the meeting along with the resolution supporting unitary leadership, where Palaniswami would become the party's new General Secretary. O Panneerselvam has opposed the move and fought a legal battle against Palaniswami's faction. The meeting was organized with a high court order that banned the party to adopt the resolution for unitary leadership. As both EPS and OPS were meeting each other for the first time since the latest leadership tussle had begun, the meeting has gained huge attention over the climax.
OPS had arrived at the meeting much ahead of EPS and the reception to EPS was rousing and several cadres had raised slogans hailing EPS when OPS had arrived. The wave of support for EPS was visible in the party as several leaders including former ministers had praised EPS for his leadership. By indirectly attacking OPS, the leaders had welcomed EPS to take the baton of single leadership.
On the other hand, OPS, with his handful of supporters, was listening to the praises that came for his rival EPS and didn't utter a word. Both the leaders remain tense on the stage and fueling the tensions, former minister CV Shanmugam told the packed hall that the meeting was boycotting all the resolutions and that the party must get a unitary leadership to function as the opposition party. Shanmugam's speech was fierce and it was completely scripted against OPS.
Following Shanmugam, former minister Valarmathi addressed the hall and she echoed Shanmugam that the party will soon get a new leader. EPS had extended a brief note and there was no mention of OPS in the meeting, which made him disturbed. Following the boycott of all the resolutions, OPS had come down from the stage and walked out of the meeting along with his supporters Vaithilingam and Manoj Pandian. While OPS was coming down, he was attacked by a cadre, who threw a water bottle at him.
To his shock, OPS found that his vehicle's tire was punctured and the political observers who closely watched the developments say that OPS has been insulted by the party. In the midst of furores, the party's Presidium Chairman Tamil Magan Hussain has announced that the next General Council meeting would be convened on July 11 and the supporters of EPS affirm that Palaniswami would be elected General Secretary in the next round of the meeting.
The supporters of OPS have slammed the EPS faction and claimed that this General Council meeting was illegal and the Presidium Chairman has no power to convene the General Council meeting. By citing that the meeting can be called on only after the consent of the party's Chief Coordinator O Paneerselvam, the OPS faction has vowed that the next General Council meeting won't take place.