Armed with the recent verdict from the Supreme Court, ADMK's interim general secretary Edappadi Palaniswami is moving towards furthering his command in the party by getting elected as the general secretary, succeeding Jayalalithaa six years after the latter's demise. As the party is preparing for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls after several electoral debacles in the recent past, Palaniswami's elevation is getting imminent and perhaps inevitable for the party cadres.
Palaniswami's elevation as the general secretary is one of the top agendas that the party leaders discussed at the meeting that was held on Thursday - March 9 in Chennai. As the alliance between the ADMK and BJP is in a catch-22 situation with an exodus of BJP leaders who quit the party and support the ADMK, Palaniswami's camp is planning to conduct the election of general secretary to build a single leadership in the party.
According to our sources, with the huge legal relief from the apex court, Palaniswami has developed a courage to outcast BJP from the alliance. Though the ADMK under his leadership had lost the Erode East bypoll, which is the latest debacle for the party, he is firm that his elevation as ADMK's general secretary would strengthen the party and his leadership. It would also grant him the power to decide the fate of those who defect him, including his rival O Panneerselvam.
As Palaniswami had a soft approach with BJP to have its backing amid the leadership crisis in the party, this trend might change after his elevation as the general secretary and he would have a hard-handed dealing with the BJP and its state leader Annamalai. In Thursday's meeting, the party leaders proposed to hold the general secretary election in line with an amendment made to the ADMK constitution in July 2022.
With the strong support from the majority of veterans and general council members, Palaniswami's elevation is expected to instill fresh strategies in the party from ending its debacles to dealing with the allied members ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Currently, the tensions between the ADMK and BJP are escalating after BJP Annamalai's remarks of likening him to Jayalalithaa and warning Palaniswami.
The meeting had also touched upon this tensed situation where the ADMK and BJP cadres are protesting against each other after a handful of BJP functionaries burned the images of Palaniswami by calling him as a 'traitor' in the wake of the recent exodus from the BJP. Palaniswami was elected as the party's interim general secretary in July 2022.
At the time of his elevation, the general council meeting was vehemently played out against O Panneerselvam and in the meeting, the party passed the resolution that the general secretary election will be held within four months and that Palaniswami will become the general secretary. However, Palaniswami's plan to conduct the election was marred after Panneerselvam challenged the general council meeting and its resolution. Last month, on February 23, the Supreme Court has declared that the meeting and its decision are valid. Based on its verdict, Palaniswami is now gearing up to take over the helm.