The unending drama of the leadership tussle between Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS) and O Panneerselvam (OPS) in ADMK has taken a new turn on Thursday - July 14 when the party's newly elected interim General Secretary EPS has directed a mass expulsion where he removed over a dozen of party functionaries in a single shot. Both the sons of OPS were among the functionaries expelled from the party by EPS.
OP Ravindranath Kumar, who is the elder son of OPS, had been serving as ADMK's lone MP in the Lok Sabha and as EPS has issued an order of firing Ravindranath, ADMK has been pushed to a beleaguered situation of losing its only MP in the Lok Sabha. Moments after EPS made his announcement of firing the sons of OPS from the party, OPS addressed the reporters in Chennai during which he said the firing of his son Ravindranath from the party is a 'complete dictatorship'.
On Thursday, EPS 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. 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. After his son was expelled from the primary membership of the party, OPS addressed the reporters after meeting his supporters in his residence. Commenting about the expulsion of his son, OPS has slammed EPS and said that removing Ravindranath is a complete dictatorship.
Throwing a counterblow on the EPS camp, OPS has then announced that he is firing EPS and his senior supporters from the party. His counterblow has come when OPS has been exhibiting that the party is under his control and that EPS has no right to expel the functionaries independently. OPS has taken the matter to the Election Commission of India to claim the right of the party and for its symbol 'two leaves'. The war of words has been turning into an aggressive tussle as both the camps have now taken the crisis to Delhi.
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 on July 11 in Chennai. While the EPS camp has passed 16 resolutions in the meeting including that of changing the 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.