From high-voltage chaos to demanding police protection: What's going on in ADMK?

ADMK, one of the prominent political parties in India and the opposition party of Tamil Nadu, is several injured and is strongly showing symptoms that it doesn't want any heal as, besides external factors, the intra-party furore and the leadership crisis are evidently proving that the party hates the treatment for its injuries prescribed by its well-wishers and stalwarts. The tussle to occupy the supreme command in the party has become never-ending and the latest events suggest that tensions have been escalating against the current leadership. 

ADMK is facing a storm for years now with the lack of stability and credibility and despite losing crucial elections, the chieftains in the party are widening the drift in their bid to win the supreme command. While the current leaders Edappadi Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam showcase unity amid differences, the expelled General Secretary of the party VK Sasikala has been playing big at her turn to take over the party. Earlier this week, the current leaders had brought changes to the party's by-laws, in the executive committee meeting, to retain their leadership by closing their doors to VK Sasikala.

While VK Sasikala had assured her supporters that she will regain control, the ADMK had announced the elections to the leadership after the overhaul. The party leaders had announced that the elections for the post of Coordinator and Joint Coordinator will be held on December 7 and as per the amended by-laws, the top two posts will be elected by primary members by a single vote. Currently, Panneerselvam is the Coordinator and Palaniswami is the Joint Coordinator. However, they had seemingly planned to retain their posts and lead the party longer under dual leadership.  

Though the executive committee had amended the by-laws and gave voting rights for the primary members to elect the top leaders, the current leaders have currently shown that there will be no business for elections and if there is no election, there would be no requirement of voting as they are building their leadership where no one will be contesting against them for the top posts. As the election date is announced on December 7, Edappadi Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam had filed nominations for the top posts on Saturday- December 4 to ADMK leaders Ponnaiyan and Pollachi Jayaraman, who were appointed as the electoral officers. 

A large number of senior functionaries of the party including former ministers were present on the occasion. According to reports, Panneerselvam had arrived at the party headquarters at around 10.55 am and waited for Palaniswami to arrive. Following his arrival, both the leaders had paid their respects to the party leaders MG Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa at their statues. On Friday, there was a shocking event that happened in the premises where there was an altercation over blocking a man who came to contest for the post of Coordinator against Panneerselvam. 

According to reports, a 71-year-man was beaten by the cadres at the party headquarters. Omapodi C Prasad Singh, a resident of Otteri, Chennai, had arrived at the party's headquarters and claimed that he is an ADMK cadre. He went inside the headquarters to get a nomination paper to contest for the post of coordinator for the election which was scheduled to be held on December 7. However, he was thrashed in the office premises and denied entry. In what had become high-voltage chaos, the melee had drawn major attention. 

Prasad Singh has alleged that cadres didn't allow him to pick up the nomination paper and some of them beat him up and pushed him out of the premises. He moved his complaint to the police against the attack and demanded police protection. However, the police didn't register a case and speaking to a news agency, Prasad Singh said that O Panneerselvam and Edappadi Palaniswami were opportunists and claimed that he is senior to all of them. He further said that his marriage in 1984 was solemnised by party founder MG Ramachandran. 

Former Minister C Ponnaiyan, who was the party-appointed election officer, said that a handful of people had come up for filing nominations but they didn't have the mandatory 15 proposers and 15 seconders, besides two ID cards issued by the party to prove their five-year continuous membership with the party. On the other hand, the second party election officer Pollachi Jayaraman has maintained that the election was being held in a democratic way and claimed that these individuals were incited by some people. 

Following the incident, the ADMK has demanded police protection for the party headquarters. Senior ADMK leader D Jayakumar had on Saturday petitioned the Chennai Police Commissioner to provide protection. While addressing the reporters, he said that the people who have no connection with the ADMK are trying to stir chaos within the party and asked how that can be permitted. Indirectly referring to VK Sasikala, Jayakumar said some people are plotting against the intra-party elections. "I have petitioned the Police Commissioner to safeguard the law and order and to provide security for the ADMK office to prevent any untoward incidents", he added. 

On Saturday afternoon, the party has announced that Edappadi Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam had got elected unopposed to the posts of Joint Coordinator and Coordinator respectively. The filing of nomination has ended by 3 pm on Saturday and as no one has filed the nomination other than the current leaders, they were elected unopposed. The high-level drama on Saturday has come to an end with no sign of the end of the ongoing tussle and crisis. With the back-to-back debacles, furores, leadership crisis, fight between senior leaders, raise of dissidents, and Sasikala's efforts to come back, both the leaders have more challenging times ahead and the well-wishers express that the party is heading towards the recession and these challenges have put the party far away from resurrection.