Big audio leak stirs row in ADMK: EPS removes senior leader Ponnaiyan from the top post!

The politically-stumbling ADMK has caught into a fresh whirl of dismay after leaked audio has stirred a row within the camp led by Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS), who is now the party's interim General Secretary, the post that he possessed after winning a battle with his rival leader O Panneerselvam (OPS).

In the audio, senior leader C Ponnaiyan, who is a supporter of EPS, was heard divulging what was happening behind the screens in the EPS camp and after it created shockwaves across the party, Ponnaiyan was removed from his post. Though veteran leader Ponnaiyan used the politically-stereotyped claim that his voice was mimicked, the functionary on the other end of the call affirmed that the call was real and that Ponnaiyan has spoken with him. The caught-on-the-tape episode has startled the EPS camp and exhibited the drama that's going on esoterically in the EPS camp. 

The audio

To be precise, Ponnaiyan has divulged how the leaders close to EPS are more committed to saving what they have earned than showing allegiance to the party. Ponnaiyan was speaking to Naanjil Kolappan, who is an ADMK functionary in the Kanyakumari district. In the audio, Ponnaiyan said that ADMK leader KP Munusamy is earning Rs 2 crore every month through his quarry that was licenced by the ruling DMK government, due to which Munusamy has stopped attacking MK Stalin's administration. 

Ponnaiyan further says that KP Munusamy was once sidelined by J Jayalalithaa for his anti-party connections and now he has become a powerful leader in the party. He revealed that most of the district secretaries are behind EPS because they want to support him to safeguard their earnings. Speaking about another senior leader CV Shanmugam and his conduct in the General Council meeting on June 23 where he clamoured that the party is rejecting all the resolutions, Ponnaiyan has slammed Shanmugam for his behaviour. 

Shockingly, Ponnaiyan has said that EPS only has the support of nine MLAs and the rest of the MLAs were gathered behind him based on the caste and the cash reward from senior leaders Velumani and Thangamani, who are staunch supporters of EPS. Ponnaiyan further says that KP Munusamy can become the party's head tomorrow and efforts have been going on for Munusamy's elevation by defeating EPS. Ponnaiyan adds that EPS has been puppeted by these leaders around him. 

When the audio leak made headlines, it was all shockwaves in the EPS camp as Ponnaiyan, who is the senior most leader in the party who turned into a whistleblower against the top leaders. The leaked audio was going viral and sparked tensions across the party. As it was in the fashion of testing the party's new leadership, it has also stirred a row been the senior leaders in the EPS camp, while the rival camp led by OPS has become a spectator of these events. 

The reactions

After the audio leak has become the talk of the town, Ponnaiyan came to the front and claimed that his voice was perfectly mimicked and shared by the OPS camp to defame the leadership led by EPS. Speaking before the cameras, Ponnaiyan said that the audio leak is an unforgivable crime and said, "I have huge respect for EPS, Velumani, and KP Munusamy. CV Shanmugam is functioning effectively and I have immense respect for him." Ponnaiyan pointed his fingers at the OPS camp that the latter has plotted a script against him and against the EPS leadership. 

Reacting to Ponnaiyan's twist in the tale, ADMK functionary Naanjil Kolappan, who was on the other end of the call, affirmed that he has spoken with Ponnaiyan over the phone and their conversation has happened on July 9 at around 10 pm. It lasted for 17 minutes and Ponnaiyan expressed his views to take them to OPS. Ponnaiyan has asserted that there was no mimicry and it was Ponnaiyan who spoke with him. Addressing the reporters over the leak, CV Shanmugam said that Ponnaiyan has given an explanation that his voice was mimicked. 

The ouster 

As the sequel to sparking massive tensions within the party, EPS has announced that Ponnaiyan has been ousted from his role of Organizational Secretary. On Wednesday - July 13, EPS made transfers and appointments in the party and while he issued an order appointing KP Munusamy and Natham Viswanathan as the party's deputy General Secretaries, SP Velumani has been appointed as the Chief Organizational Secretary.

EPS has appointed Benjamin, Rajan Chellappa, Balaganga, Sellur Raju, CV Shanmugam, KP Anbalagan, Dhanapal, OS Manian, Kamaraj, Kadambur Raju and Rajendra Balaji have been appointed as Organisational Secretaries while Ponnaiyan has been appointed as the Secretary for MGR Mandram. It is pertinent to note that 80-year-old Ponnaiyan has served as the minister of important portfolios in both MGR and Jayalalithaa's administrations. Under Jayalalithaa, he has served as ADMK's presidium chairman, which was the second most powerful post in the party after the General Secretary.